Shanmugam in Japan for disaster management forum

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Law K. Shanmugam is visiting Japan from March 13 to March 17, where he will be attending a United Nations conference on disaster risk reduction.

Mr Shanmugam will deliver a statement at the non-regular forum between government representatives and experts to discuss disaster management at Sendai city, which was devastated by the massive earthquake and tsunami that hit eastern Japan four years ago in March 2011.

The minister will also visit another tsunami-hit area, Rikuzentakata in Iwata prefecture, where he will officiate at the opening ceremony of the Rikuzentakata Multi-Purpose Community Hall.

This hall is the last and largest of four reconstruction projects in the disaster-hit areas that the Singapore Red Cross contributed to using funds raised in Singapore.

The Republic contributed $11.1 million, or half the construction cost of the hall. In recognition of this, the city will name the facility's main auditorium the "Singapore Hall".

The other three projects were an elder care centre in Miyako city, also in Iwata prefecture, a nursery school in Shichigahama, Miyagi prefecture, and a community centre in Soma city, Fukushima prefecture.

Using $500,000 contributed by the Singapore government as seed money, the Singapore Red Cross raised a total of $35.7 million, some of which went towards search and rescue operations in the wake of the disaster.

At Rikuzentakata, Mr Shanmugam will also attend a side event of the UN forum, Resilience Tomorrow: Creating an Inclusive City Out Of Devastation, held at the new Multi-Purpose Hall.

During his visit, Mr Shanmugam will also hold bilateral meetings with Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs Fumio Kishida, as well as Mr Natsuo Yamaguchi, chief representative of Komeito, coalition partner of the current Japanese government, and Mr Katsuya Okada, president of the opposition Democratic Party of Japan.