Reconstruction HQ holds first meet

by Alex Martin

Staff Writer

The government’s reconstruction headquarters held its first meeting Tuesday, with Prime Minister Naoto Kan calling for concrete measures to be drawn up to help the devastated northeast recover from the quake and tsunami.

Despite having expressed his intention to resign, Kan has said he plans on drafting second and third extra budgets for fiscal 2011 based on a report submitted Saturday by the 15-member Reconstruction Design Panel. Basic guidelines for rebuilding measures are to be drawn up by July.

“We are finally kicking off the reconstruction headquarter’s first meeting, which has been much anticipated by the public,” Kan said prior to the meeting, which was attended by all Cabinet ministers, including Ryu Matsumoto, the newly appointed head of the reconstruction agency.

The reconstruction headquarters, which will eventually be upgraded to a ministry, is headed by Kan, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano and Matsumoto, and has a staff of roughly 100, including bureaucrats from various ministries. Matsumoto said that as a first step, new task forces will be set up in Fukushima, Miyagi and Iwate prefectures.