U.S.-Japan talks discuss 3/11 debris


U.S. and Japanese nongovernmental organizations started a two-day meeting here Sunday to discuss how to deal with debris reaching the U.S. West Coast from the monster tsunami that hit the Tohoku region in March 2011 after the Great East Japan Earthquake.

Participants include representatives from the Japan Environmental Action Network, an NGO dealing with marine litter, and private-sector researchers. Officials from the Environment Ministry took part as observers.

On the first day, U.S. participants voiced concern about the huge amount of drifting debris and the possible disposal costs.

One participant from Oregon said it cost $85,000 to dispose of a floating dock from Aomori Prefecture, adding that the state of Oregon is worried about costs for dealing with possible large debris.

Moving inland

IWANUMA, Miyagi Pref.

The city of Iwanuma held a groundbreaking ceremony Sunday in the Tamaura Nishi district as it prepared to move residents inland to protect them from tsunami.

The city, which sits just south of Sendai, became the first municipality in the three-prefecture area that took the brunt of last year’s March 11 tsunami to launch a mass relocation project.

Iwanuma will relocate 348 homes to the 20-hectare Tamaura Nishi district and build 156 public housing units there, hoping to make them available by April 2014. The cost of the project is estimated at ¥10.8 billion.