The Japanese tsunami victims’ descendants have expressed dismay at the way in which the local authorities have handled the disaster and urged them to not accept the local government’s apology.
The descendants, who were forced to relocate to the southern city of Yokohama after the disaster, said they were not happy with the way the local officials handled the tragedy.
“We feel it is not appropriate for us to accept the government’s apologies because they have not come out and offered us any kind of financial assistance,” said Yoshihisa Yamamoto, a descendant of the late Tokugawa Ieyasu, who founded the Sapporo Ieyusa school.
He told reporters at a news conference that the Hokkaido government had failed to make any effort to assist the families and children of the tsunami victims and was therefore not doing anything to help them.
“The government has not offered any financial assistance to the families,” he said.
“We are left with no other option but to ask the government to help us.
We are asking the government for help, not the government.”
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has called on the government and public institutions to “do all they can to help the tsunami survivors” after an emotional speech on Thursday, calling for an “unconditional apology” to the victims.
Mr Abe has also ordered that the government provide compensation for the families of the victims, as well as “appropriate compensation to victims’ relatives”.
He has also demanded that the “full extent” of the damages from the tsunami be ascertained and that an investigation into the causes of the disaster be launched.
The prime minister’s comments came after a government official told the BBC that the tsunami had been caused by a tsunami warning system and that it was not the fault of the local tsunami warning agency.
But Mr Yamamoto said the government had not made any attempt to assist survivors and had failed the tsunami’s victims.
“There has been no government assistance for us since the tsunami and we have not been given any financial aid by the government,” he added.
“It is not right that the prime minister should make such a statement, which shows that there is not any intention to help.”
The tsunami killed more than 13,000 people in the coastal city of Fukushima, Japan’s biggest city and the capital of the island of Hokkaidō, on March 11, 2011.
More than 11,000 others died when the tsunami hit the island, and at least 3,400 were killed when the coastline collapsed.
The tsunami caused extensive damage to the coastal region of Fukushima and its surrounding mountains and rivers, with some areas suffering as much as 80% of their water tables.
More to follow