Last year, it pained me greatly to see that many lives were lost to natural disasters, the Great East Japan Earthquake in the spring and torrential rains in many places in the summer and in the autumn. My heart also goes out to the people who regrettably can no longer live in the places they used to live because of the radioactive contamination caused by the nuclear plant accident. Last year was a truly distressing year. However, it has been heartening to note that, even under such conditions, the people were helping each other and many people were working hard to support the victims.
This year, our country has to make various plans towards reconstruction and decide on guidelines for the future. At the same time, it is expected to be a year in which our country has to tackle many difficult challenges, including the disposal of the debris from the disaster. It is my sincere hope that people will bring together their wisdom and that those involved in the various tasks can work under safe conditions.
Our country is now going through difficult times because of the earthquake and other factors, but I hope that the people's hearts will always be with the afflicted, and that everyone will persevere and work together to build a brighter tomorrow.
It is my hope that the new year will be a good, peaceful year for the people of Japan and the people of the world.