FUKUSHIMA – An umbrella body to help Fukushima Prefecture recover from the 2011 quake, tsunami and nuclear triple whammy began its first day of work Saturday, following its official launch the day before.
The Fukushima Directorate General, based in the prefectural capital, the city of Fukushima, is “aimed at speeding up local recovery based on the standpoint of the prefecture’s residents,” postdisaster reconstruction minister Takumi Nemoto told a meeting of senior officials.
“We will push forward with Fukushima’s recovery with two headquarters,” Nemoto said, referring to the directorate general and a new office set up within the Reconstruction Agency in Tokyo to boost reconstruction efforts.
The umbrella body, designed to make decision-making more comprehensive, will control Reconstruction Agency and Environment Ministry units based in Fukushima Prefecture, as well as the central government’s local headquarters for overseeing recovery work following the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant’s three core meltdowns in March 2011.
The directorate general, with a staff of around 60, is headed by Nemoto. Former vice reconstruction minister Yukiyoshi Minehisa serves as its secretary general.
Rebuilding Fukushima, however, has proven an uphill battle so far and an internal affairs ministry report released last month showed no letup in the prefecture’s population outflow.