Iwate governor urges simplified rules for housing construction

JIJI

Iwate Gov. Takuya Tasso urged the government to simplify procedures necessary for housing construction in order to accelerate rebuilding two years after the devastating earthquake and tsunami ravaged the Tohoku region.

“There are limits to progress in reconstruction under the present system, particularly procedures for securing land,” Tasso said. Necessary steps include allowing municipal governments to sell land if the owner is not known, he added.

Tasso made the remarks ahead of the second anniversary of the March 11, 2011, disasters.

“It has been a difficult two years for the people of Iwate,” Tasso said, referring to the evacuation, rescue and ongoing reconstruction efforts in the wake of the disasters. “They have done a tremendous job up until now. I want to speed up the reconstruction process for them.”

Tasso said fishing catches and “wakame” seaweed production in the current fiscal year ending this month have recovered to nearly 60 percent of predisaster levels. Refrigeration capacity has recovered to about 70 percent of those figures and tourism has returned to nearly 80 percent of predisaster levels.

To accelerate reconstruction, Tasso said, remaining challenges include ending manpower shortages for construction work.

Tasso said the prefectural government is working to care for the mental health of disaster survivors. In particular, dedicated centers for children will be set up in the next fiscal year, he said.