Ambassador's Blog

New Year message from Ambassador Hayashi



13 January 2012

May I wish everyone a Happy New Year.

2011 was the year of the Great East Japan Earthquake. We felt tremendous shock and deep sorrow at the enormous damage caused - the most extensive by far since WWII. At the same time, we were greatly encouraged by the warm support from the UK and all over the world. I am confident that the recovery will gather momentum in 2012.

Here in the UK, we are looking forward to the London Olympics and Paralympics. Many people have already told me that they are planning events to mark the passage of one year since the disaster. Our Embassy for its part, intends to hold a memorial ceremony on 11 March 2012. We have also included a special section in the UK-Japan Events Calendar to introduce other such remembrance events.

When Japan faced big challenges in the past such as the Great Kanto Earthquake and World War II, it did not simply restore itself but made those trying circumstances a springboard for further development. To this end, I am certain that the efforts at recovery this time will come to fruition in the form of another step forward for Japan.

The proposed budget for FY2012 was announced on 24 December 2011, and is estimated at 90,333.9 billion yen (£752.8 billion). Following the supplementary budgets for FY2011, the Japanese Government has set up what is called a "Special Account for Reconstruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake" in the amount of 3,775.4 billion yen (£31.5 billion pounds). This sum is not included in the general account so it will be allocated for measures for recovery and reconstruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake.

As for the Olympics and Paralympics, I trust Japanese athletes will enjoy great success, which will encourage the Japanese people and impress the world. I believe that many Japanese nationals will visit the UK because of the Olympics/Paralympics, and as the Ambassador of Japan to the UK, I hope this will lead Japan and the UK to even closer relations.

Prime Minster Cameron's visit, planned for the end of October, was unfortunately cancelled because of suddenly-organised Euro Summit to tackle the Euro crisis. I sincerely hope that the visit will be realised early in 2012.


Keiichi Hayashi

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