. . Reconstruction - INFO

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Reconstruction Efforts

I have reported about them in the daily entries.

Starting from July, I will add them here.

The main source is the daily news from NHK world online.
source : NHK WORLD .

Handling of the debris is a priority before real reconstruction can begin.
The handling of the radioactive debris from Fukushima poses special problems.

. Temporary Housing - INFO

. - Reconstruction - one year later .


. . . . . June 30, 2011

Hope and reconstruction
After two and a half months of deliberation, the Reconstruction Design Council on June 25 submitted to Prime Minister Naoto Kan a set of proposals for the reconstruction of the Tohoku-Pacific coastal region, which was devastated by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, and Fukushima Prefecture, which is suffering from the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

The time has come for the government, which has been slow to respond to the disasters, to push reconstruction at full speed.

Mr. Kan and his Cabinet members and aides must make strenuous efforts to put the reconstruction on a smooth path: flesh out the council's proposals by working out the details of bills needed to implement them, and writing second and third fiscal 2011 supplementary budgets to pay for the effort.

In its proposals, the council presents a basic approach of "disaster reduction," in place of the traditional approach of completely containing major natural disasters.

In addition to building "hardware," such as embankments and sea walls, the new approach pushes "software," such as an emphasis on evacuating people to safe zones once a calamity strikes and restrictions on the construction of buildings in areas likely to be hit by disasters. Given the experience of March 11, the new approach seems reasonable.

The central and local governments must adjust to this new approach to disaster planning when adopting policies and budgets.

As a principle for reconstruction, the council stresses that municipalities and residents should play leading roles in reconstruction planning and that the central government should support them. This is a reasonable approach, too, but it is easier said than done.

It is very likely that opinions within municipalities are divided over designs of their future communities. The reconstruction efforts will offer local governments and residents a chance to learn anew the democratic process for finding the best solutions.

The council proposes creating "special zones" in selected devastated areas to revitalize local industries through such means as tax privileges and deregulation. The central government should determine local needs and devise the best solutions for each zone.

The central and local governments should refrain from imposing their ideas on special zones on local residents and industries. In fact, fishing cooperatives have expressed opposition to the idea of allowing private companies to enter the fisheries business.

Focusing on Fukushima Prefecture, which is exposed to radiation from the crippled power plant, the council is calling on the central government to monitor radiation levels there coherently and continually, and to remove radioactive debris and soil quickly. It also calls for the establishment of a research center for the development of renewable energy sources and to concentrate medical-industry related research in the prefecture.

In view of the severity of the crisis at Fukushima No. 1, the council is calling on the central government to establish new safety standards for nuclear power plants.

The council also stresses the importance of promoting green energy sources by making power companies buy electricity generated by such sources at fixed prices as well as of promoting a system under which small power generating facilities are dispersed throughout the nation.

The council did not call for the long-term goal of phasing out nuclear power generation. This points to the existence of strong pressure from bureaucrats within the council's secretariat who represent the views of Japan's nuclear power establishment.

Apparently concerned about Japan's deteriorating financial conditions, the council proposes raising consumption, income and corporate taxes to repay "reconstruction bonds" the government will issue to cover the cost of the reconstruction, which is expected to total more than ¥10 trillion.

It is clear that the Finance Ministry exerted its influence on the council members to adopt this proposal. But the government already has a plan to raise the consumption tax to pay for welfare spending. It will also have to increase taxes to pay compensation to people who have been infected by hepatitis B through mass vaccination.

Under the government plan, people would face triple tax increases, which would negatively impact Japan's economy. The government should seriously consider whether there are other ways to raise funds and be very careful about the timing of tax increases.

In pushing reconstruction, the central government must take utmost care so that administrative jockeying over turf by various government ministries and agencies does not impede or slow the rebuilding work and that local governments receive sufficient grant funding without any strings attached. It may have to take drastic measures.

The council will have to carefully monitor whether the government faithfully carries out its proposals, which are designed to bring "hope" to people, and to restore and strengthen their sense of "bonding."

source : Japan Times

Debris removal, recycling daunting,
piecemeal labor

Removing and disposing of the debris generated by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami are crucial parts of the recovery process as the people in the devastated region move forward with rebuilding their communities.

More than three months after the magnitude 9.0 quake, splintered wood, concrete blocks, steel reinforcing bars and all kinds of other waste are gradually being cleared from commercial and residential areas. The wreckage is brought to temporary collection points that are rapidly growing into mountains of rubble.

Read this interesting summary here:

source : Japan Times

Radioactive debris dilemma unresolved, growing worse
No grand plan; hot spots spread; schools just hide dangerous soil

The government's master plan to restore the quake-hit region includes moving housing from the coastline to higher ground, creating "eco-towns" that rely on reusable energy and "making Tohoku better than what it was before the disaster."
The goals are ambitious.
The government's indecision will also be a burden for many students in Fukushima as the summer heat begins to hit the region.
"The temperature is way past 30 degrees, but we need to keep the windows closed. We don't have a choice," Takahiro Saito, an official with the Nihonmatsu board of education, told The Japan Times.
Located in central Fukushima Prefecture, some schools in Nihonmatsu were forced to remove soil from their playgrounds after radiation from the Fukushima No. 1 plant contaminated the region.
The education ministry has set a nonbinding target to reduce radiation exposure of Fukushima Prefecture students while they are at school to 1 millisievert or less a year, which means the radiation on school grounds has to measure less than 1 microsievert.

Although radioactivity rose above 6.0 microseiverts per hour at some school grounds in his area, Saito said the numbers improved dramatically after the topsoil was scraped away. The campuses are now below the government-set limit, he said.
And yet the dirt was merely dumped at corners of school grounds and covered with blue plastic tarps because it can't be handled as normal industrial waste. The central government hasn't set up a guideline on the matter.

To cope with the heat, Nihonmatsu in May became the first city in Fukushima to come up with a plan to provide air conditioners in all of its elementary and junior high schools.
According to Saito, 306 air conditioners will be set up by the end of July.

The monetary cost will be high, but measures against the heat — especially with the windows sealed tight to avoid inflow of contaminated dust — is indispensable.
"We needed to answer the concerns of the parents, who were simply terrified with the thought of their children spending the summer in classrooms with the windows shut tight," Saito explained.
source : Japan Times


. . . . . July 12, 2011

Radiation, debris vex Tohoku's fishermen
Four months after the quake and tsunami hit communities along the Tohoku coastline, fishermen in Fukushima Prefecture and nearby areas still find themselves in uncharted waters as contamination of the sea remains a major obstacle to their business.
... The first signs that radiation was spreading at sea came to light on April 4, when radioactive cesium and iodine higher than allowable standards was found in "konago" sand lance caught off Kitaibaraki, Ibaraki Prefecture.

The finding sparked fears of radioactive contamination in a variety of fish, and news continued of further radioactive spills into the sea.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011 19:19 - NHK WORLD
Smart city to be built in Kashiwa
A project aimed at building an energy-efficient community called a smart city by using renewable energy and state-of-the-art IT technology is to be launched in Kashiwa City, near Tokyo.
The government of the city in Chiba Prefecture and real estate developer Mitsui Fudosan announced an outline of the project at a news conference on Tuesday.
The smart city is to be built on a 273-hectare plot in northern Kashiwa, where the developer, the University of Tokyo and Chiba University, among others, are jointly developing a so-called campus city.
The smart city is to contain office buildings equipped with solar power generation systems.
The city is also to have a biomass power generation using kitchen waste from restaurants and an air conditioning system operated through geothermal power generation. The systems are to provide 7 percent of the electricity needed in the area.
The developers say advanced IT technology will be used to save power in an integrated manner, cutting emissions by 40 percent if energy is converted into carbon dioxide.
Mitsui Fudosan Chairman Hiromichi Iwasa said the project is significant for the reconstruction of disaster areas in northeastern Japan. He said the developers want to promote a model of the Kashiwa project in other areas of Japan and abroad.
Kashiwa Mayor Hiroyasu Akiyama says he hopes the local government, the private sector and universities will jointly create the city to present a future vision of the world.
柏の葉キャンパス(千葉県柏市)Kashi no Ha Campus


. . . . . July 12, 2011

Tuesday, July 12, 2011 15:56 - NHK
Fish market reopens in northeastern Japan
A fish market has reopened in a huge tent at one of Japan's busiest fishing ports, 4 months after the March 11th earthquake and tsunami struck the northeast.
Ishinomaki, which had the nation's 3rd largest haul of fish in the last fiscal year, is in Miyagi Prefecture. Almost all its facilities including quays and processing plants were devastated by the tsunami. Electricity and running water have been partially restored at the port.
On Tuesday, squid, flatfish and other fish were unloaded. Celebrating the reopening, the president of the fish market, Kunio Suno, called it a symbol of restoration. He told a crowd that he doesn't know how long it will take but he hopes the market will flourish again. The auction started after immediately after his speech.
One seller said the squid was twice its usual price because it was the first auction since the disaster.
A buyer said since it was a special day, he bid regardless of the price. The buyer said he wants to quickly deliver the fish to his retail customers.


. . . . . July 15, 2011

Japan Times:

Tohoku land-use guidelines take two-track approach
The government will allow municipalities devastated by the March 11 tsunami to construct fish processing firms along the coast but request them to build hospitals and welfare facilities inland, according to draft guidelines on land use in disaster-hit areas.
The draft documents were compiled by the government to outline new land use policy so private entities can accelerate their housing and industrial development.
They will also be used as a reference for municipalities in compiling their reconstruction policies.
According to the draft, the government asks that municipalities designate areas to be given priority for rebuilding and to identify land safe from tsunami for building municipal offices, schools and residences.
Five safety scenarios
The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency is considering focusing on five scenarios, including the possibility of both an earthquake and tsunami hitting a reactor, when assessing safety under the stress tests to be introduced, government sources said.
The scenarios, worked out after referring to the European Union's stress tests, include the possibility of earthquakes or tsunami hitting a reactor unit separately as well as in combination, the sources said.
Clean energy bill debated
The Diet began deliberations Thursday on a bill to promote renewable energy, one of the conditions set by Prime Minister Naoto Kan under which he would consider resigning.

. . . . .

Friday, July 15, 2011 17:29 - NHK
Quake-hit facility loses cultural status
A section of a historic building in northeastern Japan will lose its designation as an important cultural property after being badly damaged by the March 11th earthquake.
The advisory panel of the Agency for Cultural Affairs conveyed the decision to the culture minister on Friday.
The Ishioka Daiichi Power Plant in Ibaraki Prefecture is a hydroelectric power station built using reinforced concrete. It was completed in 1911 as Japan's first power generating facility.
Ten sections of the plant were added to the national list of important cultural properties in 2008 for their historical value.
But the March 11th quake severely damaged the plant, toppling its concrete water tank, one of the designated properties, from the foundations.
The advisory panel concluded the tank's structure would be difficult to repair, and that the collapsed ground it stood on impossible to restore.
More than 700 nationally designated cultural assets were damaged in the March 11th disaster. The Ishioka water tank is the first to have its designation revoked, although the plant's 9 other historic structures remain on the cultural property list.

. . . . .

Volunteers wanted more than ever for disaster areas
Four months after the Great East Japan Earthquake, volunteers are still desperately needed in the hardest-hit areas for jobs ranging from clearing debris from homes to delivering relief materials and food.
About 483,000 volunteers have helped reconstruction in disaster-hit prefectures in the three and a half months since the March 11 disaster, compared with 1.17 million volunteers who pitched in over the same period after the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake.
The Japan National Council of Social Welfare surveyed the number of volunteers in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures between March 11 and June 26.
In terms of volunteers per day, the greatest number, about 11,500 people in three prefectures, performed volunteer work on May 3. Since then, volunteer numbers dropped to 6,000 on average on weekends and 3,000 on weekdays.
"We need many helping hands," a local volunteer organization member said.
source : www.asahi.com

. . . . .

Friday, July 15, 2011 17:27 - NHK
Aquarium in Fukushima reopens
An aquarium in Fukushima Prefecture has reopened after a 4-month closure due to the March 11th earthquake and tsunami.
Aquamarine Fukushima in the coastal city of Iwaki was crowded with visitors on Friday. The aquarium lost 90 percent of its fish and other aquatic creatures in the disaster, but has gradually brought back seals, otters and other animals that were evacuated to other facilities.
Children cheered upon seeing schools of fish in large tanks, while many people gathered to watch a baby harbor seal swim around.
The pup named Kibou, which means "hope" in Japanese, was born in Chiba Prefecture, near Tokyo, at a facility where his mother was brought after the disaster.


. . . . . July 16, 2011

Saturday, July 16, 2011 06:30 - NHK
Earthquake survivors get debt relief
The Japanese government and banks have developed guidelines for providing debt relief to survivors of the earthquake and tsunami.
Many disaster victims are burdened with two sets of loans -- those they had before March 11th and new ones that they need to rebuild their homes and businesses.
A panel composed of officials from the government and the Japanese Bankers Association released a proposal on Friday that would allow survivors to write off their debts without having to file for bankruptcy.
According to the guidelines, relief would be available to those whose debt is greater than the total value of their assets, including real estate holdings.
People who earn above a set threshold will be required to pay off their loans, but over an extended term.
Applications for the debt waiver will be accepted from August 22nd.
The head of the panel that drafted the guidelines, Shinjiro Takagi, says the program is intended for people whose situation is unstable after losing their homes and jobs.
He added that the panel hopes to use the guidelines to help victims who are suffering at the disaster sites.


. . . . . July, 20, 2011

3/11 victims face welfare cuts - Japan Times
Cases have surfaced in which municipalities in Tohoku have stopped welfare payments to victims of the March 11 earthquake-tsunami and subsequent nuclear crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
The reason given for removing these people from the list of recipients of seikatsu hogo (livelihood assistance) is that they have received relief money from the Japan Red Cross or compensation for the nuclear accidents from Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator of the Fukushima No. 1 plant.
In view of these people's sufferings and unstable conditions, the municipalities' decision seems harsh and callous. They should dispense with a uniform application of formulas when deciding whether disaster victims are eligible for welfare payments. Instead they should look at the specific conditions of disaster victims.
Municipal workers should remember the purpose of seikatsu hogo — literally, life protection — to guarantee the minimum standard of living to people and help them become self-supporting.
... According to the rules for the distribution of donations sent to the Japan Red Cross, ¥350,000 is to be paid for one dead or missing person, ¥350,000 for a family whose house was destroyed, ¥180,000 for a family whose house was half-destroyed and ¥350,000 for a family within 30 km of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
Tepco made a provisional payment of ¥1 million in compensation to a family within 30 km from the power plant or in special evacuation zones. The compensation for a single-person household is ¥750,000.
... It is clear that municipalities basically regard the relief money and the compensation as income.


. . . . . July 21, 2011

Thursday, July 21, 2011 07:31 - NHK
Outline of reconstruction plan compiled
The Japanese government has drawn up the outline of its reconstruction plan for areas devastated by the March 11th disaster.
The outline calls for setting up special reconstruction districts, where deregulation will be promoted, and fast-track procedures will be made available to utilize land. Easing tax burdens and providing financial support will also be considered.
The outline also calls for building advanced solar energy and wind power generation systems to promote renewable energy businesses, and creating eco-friendly towns in the disaster-hit areas.
Regarding the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, the outline proposes a research institute to be set up to help decontamination activities in the prefecture with the cooperation of universities and companies.
The government hopes to decide a basic policy based on the outline by the end of this month.


. . . . . August, 27, 2011

On TV I watched how they now put in insulation material in the walls of the prefab homes. They take off the walls, add the insulation and put the tin walls back in place ... this could have been done in the first place. The cold winter in Tohoku is nothing new ...
They also started to put old tin cans on strings and put them on the roofs of the prefab, to keep it cooler ... about 10 degrees, they said, would the temperatures inside go down (now that the summer is almost over ... ) and I wonder about the noise of the tin cans on the tin roofs ...

仮設住宅 空き缶で屋根を“断熱”
source : NHK Japanese News .


. . . . . August, 28, 2011

Sunday, August 28, 2011 11:00 - NHK
New plan for evacuation zone created
Japan's Nuclear Safety Commission has decided to create a new plan for evacuation zones for people living near a nuclear power plant in the event of an accident.
Under current government guidelines, an evacuation zone is based on the predicted amount of radioactive substances released from a troubled plant and weather conditions.
But under the new plan, an evacuation zone will be declared immediately after an accident without waiting for data.
The International Atomic Energy Agency's standard sets the zone with a radius of 3 to 5 kilometers from a plant.
Following the Fukushima Daiichi power plant accident in March, it took almost 5 hours for the government to issue the first evacuation order after it received reports on the matter.
The commission is also considering setting an evacuation zone according to the size and number of reactors involved in an emergency. In Fukushima, the evacuation area exceeded the 10-kilometer radius from the plant which was initially projected by the government.

Monday, September 05, 2011 11:52 -NHK
Charity concert for reconstruction held in Ibaraki
A citizens' group in Ibaraki Prefecture, north of Tokyo, held a charity concert on Sunday to support the restoration of local historic buildings damaged by the March 11th earthquake.
The Makabe district of Sakuragawa City is known for its streets lined with old warehouses dating back to the late Edo period, some 200 years ago.
Singer and guitarist Chuei Yoshikawa performed popular songs at one of the warehouses on Sunday.
About 100 people sang along and clapped to the music.
Proceeds from the concert will be used for the reconstruction of local communities.
A 63-year-old man said the audience got charged up singing popular songs from the past, and that he hopes this kind of event will cheer people and help them to recover from the disaster.

Thursday, September 08, 2011 - NHK
Noda: govt to seek legislation to rebuild Fukushima
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has promised his government will do all it can to enact legislation to help Fukushima Prefecture recover from the nuclear accident.
Noda responded to a request for the legislation from Fukushima Governor Yuhei Sato on Thursday in his first visit to the prefecture since taking office last week.
Noda began the meeting with an apology, saying the government is heavily responsible for leaving many Fukushima residents still in shelter since the nuclear accident, which was triggered by the March 11th earthquake and tsunami.
Noda said there will be no revival of Japan without the revival of Fukushima.
He added that his Cabinet will approve a plan to allocate 220 billion yen, or about 2.8 billion dollars, from reserve funds in the second supplementary budget for fiscal 2011, to help revive the prefecture.


. September 11, 2011 .


Thursday, Sep. 15, 2011

Iwate survivors wonder, worry about future
Elderly and young alike unsure what lies in store for their towns, lives

The coastal town of Yamada, Iwate Prefecture, used to have a railway station, cafes, restaurants and medical clinics, but all that remains now are the foundations and twisted iron support bars of buildings.

In the months since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami devastated the town, various reconstruction efforts have made progress: Temporary accommodations have been built for some of the survivors living in shelters, and debris has mostly been cleared up in Yamada's central commercial and residential areas.
But for the town's disaster survivors, daily life hasn't gotten much better or any easier.
Above all, they worry about how their local community will look after it is rebuilt, and wonder what their lives will be like after they move out of their temporary housing in the future.
For elderly residents of Yamada, whose population is steadily aging and declining, one of the most pressing problems is receiving medical care.

Before the disaster, it only took Aiko Domeki, 77, a few minutes by bicycle to visit her doctor, who she used to see three times a week, at a local clinic.
But now, a trip to her doctor entails a 30- to 40-minute walk from her temporary housing, which was built on top of a hill as a safety measure against future tsunami.
As a result, Domeki, who has high blood pressure, only visits the clinic around once a month.
... Children living in temporary accommodations are also having a tough time, said Kikuchi, who has a 3-year-old daughter. For example, there is no playground or equipment for kids to use near her housing, forcing them to play indoors — which for some neighbors is a nuisance.
Kikuchi also called on the ruling and opposition parties to stop bickering and instead work together to rebuild devastated areas. ...
source : Japan Times


Yamada Hachiman Shrine, Oosugi Shrine
In Yamada there lies Yamada Hachiman Shrine, positioned on elevated ground commanding a view of the Yamada coast, and Oosugi Shrine, formerly based 150m from the sea. The “Yamada Festival” which is held between these two shrines, is the biggest festival in the town. Since childhood the people of Yamada have heard the music of this festival and seen the procession of the mikoshi, so much so that the love for festivals runs in their blood.

At any rate, the passion for this event is certain as so many people return to their hometown not for the Obon season, but instead, in September at the time of this festival. However, through the impact of the earthquake and tsunami Oosugi shrine has been destroyed and furthermore the mikoshi and performing arts props have all been taken by the tsunami. Nevertheless, Sato is determined to restore the festival in order to continue the performing arts traditions passed down through generations and to call those who have fled back to Yamada.
source : wawa.or.jp

with more videos to watch
source : www.youtube.com

山田町芸能祭 The Festival at Yamada Shrine, September 17 / 18 2011
source : okuderazeki.at.webry


Saturday, Sep. 17, 2011

Accelerate reconstruction
Six months after the massive earthquake and tsunami devastated the Tohoku Pacific coastal areas on March 11, people there are continuing to rebuild together their lives. In Fukushima Prefecture, people have suffered not only from the natural disasters but also from the disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
Those who have not been directly affected by these catastrophes, in particular politicians, should never underestimate or make light of the suffering and sorrow of those who have been directly impacted in Tohoku. The government must do its utmost to accelerate the reconstruction from the triple disasters.
... n the disaster-hit areas, vital infrastructure such as roads and power have mostly been restored and more than 90 percent of planned fabricated houses have been built. But some 75,000 people have been forced to evacuate their communities and are living in the homes of relatives or friends or in shelters.
A survey by Kyodo News of the resident registers in 37 municipalities in the coastal areas of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures shows that 49,886 residents have left. There is a possibility that this number may be higher as many have left without changing their resident registers to reflect their new places of residence.
In the city of Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, 9,011 residents have left — the largest number among the 37 municipalities. The town of Otsuchi, Iwate Prefecture, suffered a 13.7 percent drop in its population — the greatest percentage among the municipalities. Some 1,408 people there — nearly 10 percent of the town's population — died in the disasters, including the mayor.


Sunday, September 25, 2011 - NHK
Intl flights resume at Sendai Airport
Sendai Airport in northeastern Japan has resumed international services that had been suspended since the March 11th earthquake and tsunami. Passengers boarded the first flight to Seoul, South Korea, on Sunday.
About 30 airport and local government officials attended the reopening ceremony at the terminal building. They offered silent prayers for the victims of the March 11th disaster.
Transport minister Takeshi Maeda congratulated the officials and staff who worked enthusiastically to achieve a recovery only half a year after the catastrophe.
Sendai Airport restarted domestic services in July, but many international airlines delayed making a decision because they wanted to see the outcome of the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
The president and CEO of Asiana Airlines, Yoon Young-doo, said his airline decided to resume operations one month earlier than planned as strong demand from local residents is expected. He added that he is happy to see the departure of the first flight since March 11th.
Flights to Guam and Taiwan will be restarted next month, and services to Beijing will resume from March next year.

Monday, September 26, 2011 - NHK
Noda pledges to focus on reconstruction
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda says his government will put priority on recovery and reconstruction from the March 11th quake and tsunami and containing the nuclear accident in Fukushima.
Noda spoke at the beginning of the 2-day Lower House Budget Committee session that opened on Monday for the first time since he took office in early September.
Noda said his Cabinet's priorities are reconstruction and efforts to bring the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant under control.
He said it will also steadily implement measures to revive the Japanese economy and respond to growing concerns over the global economic crisis.
On calls for increased disaster reconstruction efforts, Noda said he wants to respond quickly to survivors' requests for rubble removal and provide support for those in need in the affected areas.
The prime minister said the government and governing parties are in final discussions on a third supplementary budget to promote reconstruction projects.
He said he will do his utmost to hold talks with opposition parties so that a bill is submitted to the Diet at an early date.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Kirin revives beer plant in Sendai

Saturday, October 01, 2011 22:33
Sendai Airport Transit resumes entire service
A train line that connects Sendai City and Sendai Airport resumed complete service on Saturday.
The tracks and terminal were destroyed by the March earthquake and tsunami.

Saturday, October 01, 2011 22:33 - NHK
Free farm opens for Fukushima evacuees
An agricultural organization in Saitama Prefecture has made available farmland for use by people who have evacuated from Fukushima Prefecture.
The 1,000-square-meter farm in Kazo City is located near an evacuation center housing people from Futaba Town.
In a ceremony on Saturday, Futaba Mayor Katsutaka Idogawa said he was glad that the farm was opened with the support of many people.
After the ceremony, about 20 people planted about 50 broccolis.
Many of the evacuees are farmers, and the land is being made available to them for free. The displaced farmers plan to give the vegetables they harvest to other evacuees.
Hidenori Kamura is a farmer from Futaba. He said he has been frustrated because he has not been able to touch any soil for more than half a year. He said he once again wants to grow tasty vegetables.

Monday, October 10, 2011 - NHK
Symposium on post-disaster reconstruction held
Mayors of disaster-hit municipalities in northeastern Japan have called for wide-ranging cooperation to rebuild their devastated communities.
6 mayors from cities and towns in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures took part in a symposium on post-disaster reconstruction as panelists in Tokyo on Sunday. The meeting was organized by the Japan Society for Disaster Recovery and Revitalization.
The mayor of Shinchi Town in Fukushima, Norio Kato, said rebuilding railroads is essential for disaster recovery, but that fiscal conditions in affected areas are very severe. He asked the state to cover expenses, adding that local communities will take responsibility for securing land for the railroads.
The vice mayor of Minamisanriku Town in Miyagi, Kenji Endo, said his town suffered catastrophic damage in the March 11th disaster and received massive support from neighboring communities. He added that further cooperation between coastal and inland areas will become important for disaster preparedness.
The organizer said it wants the panelists' comments and requests to be reflected in developing and implementing recovery plans for affected areas.
The leader of the organization, Kansei Gakuin University Professor Yoshiteru Murosaki, said he was able to learn the needs of the disaster areas. He added that his organization wants to offer knowledge, data and information in support of reconstruction efforts.

Friday, October 14, 2011 - NHK
Govt. to outline concrete plans for reconstruction
The Japanese government will explain the details of its reconstruction plans as early as next week to local governments hit hard by the March earthquake and tsunami.
The government has included its rebuilding plans in the third fiscal 2011 supplementary budget.
But cities and towns in disaster areas are complaining that they may have to delay the crafting of their own reconstruction plans unless the central government informs them of details of its projects.
In response to their calls, the land and infrastructure ministry will hold briefings for officials of cities and towns in Miyagi, Iwate, and Fukushima prefectures as early as late next week.
It will explain that the central government will shoulder all the costs of its planned projects.
The ministry will scrap the ceiling on subsidies for developing residential sites on high ground, where coastal houses are to be moved to escape future tsunami. The central government will also subsidize the relocation of houses, hospitals and stores. In addition, the state will bear the cost of a project to raise ground levels to prevent tsunami damage.
The central government will allow local governments to forcibly seize land to develop city areas for a short time. It will grant tax breaks to the owners of seized land.
The cities and towns in the disaster zone will estimate project costs and choose areas for development based on the state's guidelines.
IMF urges Japan to raise taxes for reconstruction - NHK
The International Monetary Fund has urged Japan to raise taxes to help pay for reconstruction from the March earthquake and tsunami and rehabilitate public finances.
The director for the IMF's Asia and Pacific Department, Anoop Singh, released a report on the economic outlook for his region at a news conference on Thursday.
The report calls for Japan to be fiscally disciplined in securing sufficient financial resources for reconstruction.
Singh noted that although the Japanese government is considering raising taxes to help fund reconstruction, a tax increase is necessary not only for rebuilding but also for fiscal consolidation.
The report upgrades Japan's economic growth forecast for next year to 2.3 percent, up 0.2 points from its prediction 6 months ago.
The IMF attributes the upward revision to the earlier-than-expected recovery of supply chains for auto parts and other products that suffered major disruptions due to the disaster. It also cites a projected increase in corporate capital investment during reconstruction.
The report proposes that to boost economic growth, Japan should further liberalize its trade by joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement.


December18, 2011

Arbeitskreis Wiederaufbau Tohoku

Zusammen mit der Präfektur Iwate und der dortigen Präfektur-Universität planen wir im Sommer 2012 (und folgende) auf dem Campus in Miyako ein Symposium mit deutschen und japanischen Experten (aus Wissenschaft, Wirtschaft und den betroffenen Gemeinden) mit angeschlossenem Sommerworkshop für deutsche und japanische Studenten.

Geplante Schwerpunkte

- Wiederherstellung der Infrastruktur
- Ökologische Stadtplanung
- Erneuerbare Energieversorgung
- Entwicklung neuer Wirtschaftskonzepte
- Aufarbeitung der Traumata

source : sanrikufukkou.wordpress.com


February 9, 2012

Lack of bidders in Tohoku reconstruction
A lack of bidders for construction projects in northeast Japan is hampering efforts to rebuild areas devastated by the March 11th earthquake and tsunami.
The land and transport ministry has decided to take immediate measures to address the situation.
Repair of damaged roads and sewage systems is underway in the devastated areas. But labor costs are skyrocketing due to a shortage of workers. Local construction firms remain reluctant to bid in auctions since last fall for fear of losing money.
In December, 45 percent of infrastructure auctions in Miyagi Prefecture and 51 percent in Fukushima failed to find winners. In Iwate, 16 percent of all construction auctions failed.
To address the situation, the land and transport ministry says it will adjust the fees for construction projects commissioned by local governments, in response to rising labor costs in the devastated areas.
Currently, only local companies are allowed to participate in reconstruction auctions. But the ministry says it will allow firms from outside the disaster-affected areas to join hands with local partners so they can jointly bid for such projects.
The ministry will also allow a chief construction manager to concurrently serve as chief construction manager of other projects.
These measures will come into effect by the end of February.


Fukkoo Daruma - Rebuilding with Daruma

Higashi Nihon Daishinsai Fukkoo Koosoo Kaigi


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