Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee watches as
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie Abe lay
a wreath at the site of the CTV Building in Christchurch.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has today paid tribute
to the 28 Japanese citizens who died in the February 2011
Mr Abe and his wife Akie arrived at the head of a 17-strong
motorcade at the memorial site where the six-storey CTV
Building stood in Christchurch before it came down in the
violent February 22 tremor, which claimed 115 lives.
They were met by Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee
and Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority boss Roger
Mr and Mrs Abe laid a wreath at the cleared site, which is
now a place of remembrance, before a respectful bow.
A crowd of around 50, mostly Japanese, shouted and waved from
behind the security cordon. They were excited to shake hands
with the world leader.
They then watched the couple cross Madras St for a short tour
of the "cardboard" Transitional Cathedral -- the temporary
place of worship built after the landmark Christ Church
Cathedral was badly damaged in the magnitude-6.3 shaking.
Of the 185 people killed in the quake, 115 perished in the
In February, just after the third anniversary of the
disaster, families of the Japanese CTV victims were given a
private briefing by police and Ministry of Business,
Innovation and Employment officials on progress of the police
probe into the collapse.
After the cathedral visit, Mr Abe, the first Japanese prime
minister to visit New Zealand since Junichiro Koizumi in
2002, was chauffeur-driven to the military terminal at
Christchurch International Airport to fly to Australia.