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Abe mum on Fukushima at U.N. disaster risk confab via the Japan Times

On the second day of the U.N. World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, French Minister of State for Development and Francophony Annick Girardin said climate change is responsible for over 80 percent of the damage caused by natural disasters.

The Sendai conference is “above all a call for lucidity, because it is no longer possible to ignore climate chaos” in the context of disaster risk mitigation, Girardin told the gathering, which began Saturday.

Meanwhile, in a speech Saturday at the conference, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had few words on the triple core meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant. The disaster in Fukushima Prefecture erupted after a massive quake on March 11, 2011, spawned huge tsunami that took out the plant’s cooling systems.

Abe’s speech was strongly criticized by Tamotsu Baba, mayor of the town of Namie.

“(Abe’s speech) was no good at all. He may not have wanted to give negative impressions (of Japan) because world leaders have gathered here,” Baba told reporters Saturday.

Namie is close to the plant, and about 21,000 of its residents were still living outside the town as of the end of February after losing their homes to radioactive fallout.

Speculation has been rifle that Abe was attempting to avoid discussion about the Fukushima disaster because the No. 1 plant is plagued radioactive water woes, including operator Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s failure to disclose the extent of the tainted water flowing into the Pacific.

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