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.