Today we in Japan mark the passage of five months since the earthquake and tsunami which devastated many parts of the north-eastern region. Over 15,000 people died and many more lost their homes. As we work to tackle the damage caused by this disaster and to contain the situation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, we are encouraged by the support and compassion shown by the British people.
It is in this context that I feel we share something of the sense of loss and despair borne by the victims of the riots that have taken place in London and a number of other cities across the country recently. I would like to express my profound sadness and regret at what has been happening. My thoughts are with those victims of the unrest - including at least one Japanese national - who have lost possessions, had property damaged and in some cases lost their livelihoods through malicious acts such as arson, thuggery and looting.
In the aftermath of the unrest here, PM Cameron vowed to restore order to Britain's streets and to make them safe for the law-abiding, adding: "I am determined, the Government is determined that justice will be done", and that the perpetrators of the violence "will see the consequences of their actions". For my part, I have been struck by how quickly many of the local communities in the affected areas have been drawn together by the events and are now united in cleaning up the debris and rebuilding their neighbourhoods. Such scenes are testament to the character of the British people, and I know that it is this spirit of unity which ensures that Britain remains the remarkable country that it is.
I am, of course, aware of press reports indicating concern about next year��s Olympic Games. However, I know that Japanese athletes such as the badminton players, who were in London this week for a test event, found the proceedings to have been well organised and smoothly run. In looking forward to next year, I am sure that the British will strive to make the athletes and participants from overseas most welcome, thus contributing to the success of the 2012 Olympics.