Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said, in comments made public late Friday, that his country will not forget the international support given to it in the wake of last year's deadly earthquake and vowed to revitalize the country's economy.
"We will not forget the loved ones, friends and colleagues lost in the disaster," Noda wrote in an op-ed article in The Washington Post. "Nor will we forget the outpouring of support and international expressions of solidarity that Japan received. For this, we feel deeply indebted and forever appreciative."
The prime minister assured his nation had the collective will to tackle the most pressing issues that had arisen in the aftermath of the quake: reconstruction of affected areas, full decommissioning of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, decontamination of the affected areas and "revitalization" of the Japanese economy.
Japan was rattled on March 11, 2011 by one of the strongest earthquakes in modern times which sent a tsunami crashing into the Fukushima Daiichi plant, forcing tens of thousands of people to flee as radioactivity spewed into the air.
The nuclear crisis did not directly claim any lives, although more than 19,000 people were killed by the force of the tsunami in Japan's worst post-World War II disaster.
The prime minister said the Japanese people must draw on the unique strengths of the country's economy, seek open cooperation with their international partners, and exploit the promise of new growth areas.
"Sectors such as energy, the environment, health and nursing care hold significant potential as leading growth industries where Japan can tap innovative ideas and investment from the private sector, including foreign direct investment, and play a leading role globally," he wrote.
Noda added his government was aiming to support increased international investment in Japan, not only in business but also in tourism.