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ne month has passed since the Great EastJapan Earthquake, which caused over13,000 people to lose their lives in the enormous earthquake and tsunamisthat struck. Even now, over 14,000 people remainunaccounted for, and about 150,000 people remainforced to take shelter as evacuees. I extend my heartfeltsympathy to all the people who have suffered as a resultof this disaster, both Japanese nationals and non-Japanese, and to their families.We are currently mobilising all resources to bring thesituation at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Stationunder stable control and working to stabilise thesituation there at the earliest possible time.This one month since the great earthquake has beenan extremely arduous time for Japan. Yet at the sametime, it has been a period during which Japan has onceagain realised, and once again given thanks, that westand together with the world.Thus far, over 130 nations and regions, nearly 40international organisations, a number of non-governmental organisations and people from all around the globe have extended their best wishes tous, and moreover they have expressed their supportand solidarity through donations and other means. Various countries and regions rushed in rescue workersto swiftly conduct rescue operations in the affectedareas swiftly and delivered supplies such as food,medical supplies, and blankets. This assistance also brought wholehearted encouragement to thedisaster victims. In addition, we have receivedthousands of origami paper cranes intently folded bychildren in distant nations wishing for thereconstruction of the disaster-stricken areas.KIZUNA -THE BONDS OF FRIENDSHIP11 APRIL 2011026G8 MEMBER COUNTRIESNAOTO KAN, PRIME MINISTER, JAPANOTop right: UN Photo/Devra Berkowitz; Right: © European Union, 2011

G8 MEMBER COUNTRIES027Main Picture:Naoto Kan(second from left) withother G8 leaders and thePresident of theEuropean Council,Herman Van Rompuy, at the 2010 G8 summitin CanadaRight:Naoto KanOn behalf of the people of Japan, I extend my heartfeltthanks for such assistance from all around the world.There is no doubt that Japan will recover, become vibrantagain, and become an even more marvellous country. Inliving up to the cordial encouragement and solidarityextended to us by the international community, I considerwalking down the road to such a rebirth to be incumbentupon us, and the best way for Japan to reciprocate yourkind concern. It is my firm conviction that through thefundamental strengths inherent to the Japanese peopleand the cordial co-operation of the internationalcommunity, we can achieve this without fail.I am also determined that Japan will certainly repay,through our contributions to the internationalcommunity, the cordial assistance we have receivedfrom around the world.To that end, I will work to the best of my ability torealise reconstruction of Japan. n