Most disaster-hit fish ports back up

JIJI

Most of the ports damaged by the tsunami created by the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011 are restarting fish offloading operations thanks to progress on restoration, the government said Friday.

Of the 319 affected ports on the Pacific coast, 311, or 97 percent, had undergone substantial restoration as of April 18, according to the government’s annual fisheries industry report. Work to remove disaster debris from the ports and sea routes has been completed, it said.

The damage caused to fishery-related facilities by tsunami totaled ¥1.264 trillion, the report said.

In addition, about 70 percent of the 12,000 fishing boats needed in the damaged parts of the northeast are ready to sail, it said. Some of the ships were rebuilt.

The report also said people are starting to share fishing boats and freezer space as part of efforts to boost profitability, adding that it is important to accelerate such moves to ensure recovery.

Billions for disaster zone

Local and prefectural governments in the area hit by the earthquake and tsunami last year will get ¥261.1 billion in the second round of special grants, the Reconstruction Agency said Friday.

The amount is some 1.5 times higher than requests made in April by seven prefectures and 71 municipalities because grants for some reconstruction projects planned for the next fiscal year were included.

Among the three prefectures hardest hit by the disasters, Iwate will receive ¥79.8 billion, Miyagi ¥141.8 billion and Fukushima ¥30.6 billion.

A total of ¥9 billion will be provided to Aomori, Ibaraki, Chiba and Nagano prefectures and the city of Tokamachi, Niigata Prefecture.

The first round of grants, carried out in March, was criticized by Miyagi Gov. Yoshihiro Murai after his prefecture received only 57 percent of its request. Reconstruction Agency chief Tatsuo Hirano responded by telling agency officials to work more closely with local and prefectural governments.

In the second round, the grants will focus on programs aimed at facilitating relocation of disaster-hit residential areas and projects to rebuild damaged fishing ports and construct new houses for disaster victims.