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Wed, 03/14/2012 - 05:23
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Meeting to commemorate one year after earthquake hits Japan held in Vientiane

VIENTIANE,13.03.2012 (KPL) - On March 9, the Japanese Embassy to Laos held a ceremony to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan claimed more than 15,000 lives and left 3,000 others missing. The ceremony was intended to express Japan’s deep gratitude for the support extended by the people and government of Laos and to inform those present of the country’s ongoing efforts to rebuild affected areas. Attending at the ceremony included Lao Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong, along with various ministers, deputy ministers, senior government officials, ambassadors and representatives from organisations based in Laos. When addressing the ceremony, Japanese Ambassador Ms Junko Yokota expressed her sincere appreciation for the warm and enduring support from Laos and the rest of the world, stressing the importance of solidarity in the wake of large-scale disasters. “The reconstruction of affected areas is making steady progress, with infrastructure almost fully restored in many places,” she informed guests. Ms Yokota said Japan plans to host a number of international conferences concerning large-scale natural disasters and nuclear safety this year, with a view to sharing with the international community lessons learned from the disaster which culminated in the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant accident. “The Great East Japan Earthquake was a tragedy but we learned many important lessons which we hope can be shared with the international community,” Ms Yokota said. Mr. Thongsing told those present that the Lao government and people have demonstrated a deep friendship with the Japanese people at one of their most difficult times through financial and material contributions, as well as moral support. “With the notable impact of climate change and natural disasters in recent years, Laos will do everything it can to protect the environment and support the useful and constructive initiatives of the Japanese government in this area,” Mr Thongsing said. He also praised the government of Japan for taking serious and immediate actions to reconstruct the areas hit hardest by the severe earthquake and tsunami. “Following the earthquake and tsunami last year, the Lao government collected cash and goods from members of the public to support affected families in Japan. Although the amount of money was small, it represented the deep sincerity of all Lao people towards the people of Japan,” Mr Thongsing said. Last year, the Lao government and private sector collaboratively collected donations and hosted charity concerts and fundraising activities to provide relief aid for Japanese families affected by the disaster.