This coming spring will mark four years since the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on March 11, 2011. While that’s not nearly long enough for the those who experienced the tragedy first-hand to forget about the destruction, sadness, and fear, some politicians are concerned that in time memories will fade, which is why a bill is being introduced in the Japanese Diet to establish March 11 as an official day of remembrance of the disaster.
The Liberal Democratic Party has announced its intention to recommend that March 11 be officially known as Great East Japan Disaster Day. The initiative is being spearheaded by LDP representatives from Tohoku, Japan’s northeastern region which suffered the heaviest damage from the earthquake and tsunami. In particular, Shinichi Suzuki and Takumi Nemoto, representatives from Iwate and Fukushima Prefectures, respectively, are seen as champions of the cause.
While the bill will not seek to establish March 11 as a national holiday, the lawmakers nevertheless feel the designation is important to raise awareness about the necessity of disaster preparedness, prevent the events from fading from public consciousness, and to make sure future generations understand what the country experienced.
The Liberal Democratic Party had begun work on presenting the proposal back in fall this year, but its progress was derailed by the dissolution of the Diet and subsequent snap elections. Backers now plan to formally introduce the bill at the next regular session of the Diet, to be held in January, and are currently reaching out to representatives from other parties in order to complete the process by March 11 of 2015.