Abe says gov't to reinforce measures against nuclear disaster-associated fatalities

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on March 10 the central government will act in unison to reinforce its measures to prevent further fatalities associated with the tsunami-induced nuclear disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Abe made the remarks in response to a question from a Fukushima Minpo reporter at a press conference at his office in Tokyo. Concerning deaths linked to the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, Abe expressed his intention to tackle the issue, saying, "It breaks my heart that there are evacuees who have passed away amid thoughts of wanting to return home. We need to take measures in a sound manner." As specific measures, he spelled out actions such as speeding up the rebuilding of homes and communities as well as securing public health nurses who will visit evacuees to offer health guidance as part of efforts to improve the health and livelihoods of residents of Fukushima Prefecture who have had to evacuate their homes. In Fukushima Prefecture, the number of fatalities recognized by local municipal governments as being associated with the earthquake and tsunami disaster as well as the nuclear accident totaled 1,671 as of March 10, surpassing the 1,603 people who died directly due to the disasters. Deaths associated with the nuclear disaster include people who died as a result of having to live as evacuees, and their number keeps rising as residents remain unable to return home. Translated by Kyodo News