Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Thursday travelled to Miyagi and Iwate prefectures to visit areas devastated by the March 2011 quake and tsunami and to see the ongoing recovery efforts.
The visits mark the first time for Suga to visit the disaster-hit areas since he assumed office in September, reports Xinhua news agency.
“I believe there are numerous issues, but I would like you to tell me about them without hesitation,” Suga said after hearing about the current situation from Atsumi Iwao, mayor of Higashi Matsushima City in Miyagi.
Suga went on to say: “We will respond accordingly.”
The premier also visited Ishinomaki city, a particularly hard-hit region of Miyagi prefecture, where he offered flowers and prayers for the lives lost at a memorial park.
The 9-magnitude earthquake on March 11, 2011, was the most powerful ever recorded in Japan, and the fourth most powerful temblor in the world since modern record-keeping began in 1900.
The earthquake triggered powerful tsunami waves that reached heights of up to 40.5 metres.
The tsunami also caused nuclear accidents, primarily the level 7 meltdowns at three reactors in the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant complex.
The disaster claimed the lives of 15,899 people, injured 6,157 others, while 2,529 were still reported missing.