Members of the international community in Vienna, Austria, joined with Japan today to mark the first anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident, which occurred on 11 March 2011.
During the ceremony, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano noted that "we have been a steadfast partner for Japan and will continue to do everything we can to help overcome the effects of the accident in the coming years."
He also emphasised the challenges that will be faced and efforts to bolster nuclear safety as a result. "Around 160 000 people were evacuated from the affected area. No-one was killed as a result of the release of radioactivity from the accident. The work of decontamination and remediation in the facility, as well as in the affected areas, will be very challenging.
"The Agency has started preparations for helping the Japanese Government to host a Fukushima Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety in Fukushima Prefecture in December. I am confident that considerable progress will have been made by then in restoring normality throughout the entire region devastated by the disaster."
Mr. Amano expressed his sympathy for the people affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami. "As a citizen of Japan, and simply as a human being, I was deeply shocked and saddened by the devastation and the great loss of life which the disaster inflicted on my homeland."
Statements were also delivered by Japan's Ambassador Toshiro Ozawa; Yury Fedotov, Director General of the UN Office at Vienna (UNOV) and Executive-Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC); Tibor Tóth, Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Organization; and Kandeh Yumkella, Director General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation. All three expressed their sympathy for the Japanese people as well as their hope that valuable lessons will be learned from the ensuing disaster.
A photo exhibit about the post-disaster recovery effort also went on display and will remain at the Vienna International Centre until Friday, 23 March 2012.