25 years have passed since the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake occurred on January 17, 1995. I still remember it well. Two weeks after the earthquake occurred, I decided to go to Kobe by bullet train because I wanted to confirm the disaster sites with my own eyes. Railways, roads, shopping streets and residential areas were all stuck with loads of rubble. People were running around this way and that in confusion.
At that time, I was defeated in the election of the members of the House of Representatives, and was preoccupied with the election all the time. Taking into account the change of the election system from a medium-sized constituency to a small single-seat constituency, I was determined to transfer my electorate district from Kanagawa Prefecture to Fukuoka Prefecture. Keeping this determination in mind, I wandered about the disaster areas in Kobe City for half a day, and then, I felt from the bottom of my heart a strong desire to run for the election once again and work for the good of the people.
In April 1995, I moved from Kawasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture, to Dazaifu City, Fukuoka Prefecture. I started everything over and prepared for the election. Local people were very kind to me and to my family. They helped me get to where I am now.