City of Shimada to accept debris from Iwate to help reconstruction

Kyodo

The city of Shimada, Shizuoka Prefecture, said Thursday it will accept debris left by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Iwate Prefecture, becoming the second municipality outside the Tohoku region after Tokyo to do so.

The decision, declared by Mayor Katsuro Sakurai, came after the municipal assembly passed a resolution in the morning calling for the acceptance of debris to support the reconstruction of the disaster-hit region.

While Shimada plans to incinerate debris from the Iwate communities of Otsuchi and Yamada at an annual pace of 5,000 tons, other local governments have hesitated to accept debris due to concerns about possible radioactive contamination from the Fukushima nuclear crisis.

“We would be happy if we can lessen the pain of the people in Tohoku even by just a little,” Mayor Sakurai said at a news conference, adding his city plans to start taking in the debris by the end of this month.

Sakurai said the city will continue accepting the debris “until they are cleared.”

The Shimada government confirmed through a test incineration in February that radioactive cesium density levels in debris, incineration ash and waste gas were within safety thresholds set by the central, prefectural and municipal governments.

The decision by Shimada is expected to encourage other local governments to accept disaster debris.