UN chief visits disaster zone in Fukushima

Updated: 2011-08-08 16:32


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UN chief visits disaster zone in Fukushima

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (2ndR) and his wife Yoo Soon-taek (R) receive local traditional handcraft gifts from a high school student at the end of their visit in Fukushima, northern Japan August 8, 2011. The March 11 earthquake and tsunami in northeast Japan triggered a protracted radiation crisis at Tokyo Electric Power's Fukushima Daiichi plant in the city, the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl 25 years ago. [Photo/Agencies]

TOKYO - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited Japan's disaster zone in Fukushima on Monday, expressing support to local evacuees who remain displaced five months after the quake and ensuing tsunami and nuclear crisis.

Visiting a shelter at a gymnasium, Ban told some 300 people that "the world is with you" in Japanese, encouraging the victims of the disasters to hang on.

He also met with local high school students and visited the tsunami-devastated seaside area of Soma city in the prefecture.

Ban told reporters that he believes Japan will be able to overcome this tragedy with the nation's determination and the international community's support.

On Monday evening, Ban is slated to meet separately with Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan and Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto in Tokyo, and hold a joint conference later with Matsumoto.

The March 11 disasters have left about 23,000 people dead or missing and triggered the world's worst nuclear leakage at Fukushima No 1 nuclear power plant.

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