For information only - not an official document

12 March 2012

Commemorating the First Anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake at the United Nations in Vienna

Photo Exhibition "Tohoku Region: Rebuilding for a Better Tomorrow" opens at Vienna International Centre

VIENNA, 12 March (UN Information Service) - To mark one year after the earthquake and tsunami that hit eastern Japan on 11 March 2011 a special ceremony has been held at the United Nations Headquarters in Vienna. The event was organized by the Permanent Mission of Japan in cooperation with the United Nations Office at Vienna (UNOV) and includes a photo exhibition showing the rebuilding of the region affected in Japan.

The Great East Japan Earthquake, as it is known, and the tsunami that followed, killed more than 15,000 people and destroyed cities and villages along the coast of the country's Tohoku region. The disaster also caused major damage to the Fukishima Daiichi nuclear power station. Some 3,000 people are still listed as missing and more than 340,000 others evacuated from the disaster zone have not been able to return.

Speaking at the commemoration the Director-General of UNOV, Yury Fedotov said the events of that day had a powerful hold on our memory, with many people showing uncommon courage: "Yet what remains so clear in our minds is the response of the Japanese people. I was particularly moved by their resourcefulness and determination to overcome this disaster."

Mr. Fedotov also paid tribute to the work of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) following the accident at the Fukishima Daiichi nuclear power plant and also commended the valuable role of the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs which, through the UN-Spider programme, provided space-based information to the wider disaster-management community.

The photo exhibition entitled "Tohoku Region: Rebuilding for a Better Tomorrow" shows the destruction in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake and also the reconstruction carried out in the last 12 months.

The Japanese Ambassador Toshiro Ozawa expressed Japan's determination to reconstruct and revitalize the area affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake. He also talked about the progress made in recovering from the nuclear accident at the Fukishima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.

The heads of the other Vienna-based United Nations organizations spoke at the event: the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Yukiya Amano, the Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), Tibor Tóth and the Director-General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Kandeh K. Yumkella (via video message).

The photo exhibition will be on display in the Rotunda of the Vienna International Centre from 13 to 23 March.

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For further information please contact:

Anne Thomas
Information Officer, UNIS Vienna
Telephone: (+43-1) 26060-5588
Mobile: (+43) 699-1459-5588
Email: anne.thomas[at]


David Dadge
Spokesperson and Speechwriter, Office of the Director-General, UNOV
Telephone: (+43-1) 26060-5629
Mobile: (+43) 699-1459-5629
Email: david.dadge[at]