Road map for Fukushima evacuees due in summer: Abe

Kyodo

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Monday he has plans to unveil a road map this summer on promoting infrastructure-building to allow nuclear evacuees in Fukushima Prefecture to return as early as possible.

“There is a need to create an environment in which each disaster-affected person can visualize when and how the reconstruction will progress,” Abe told a press conference on the second anniversary of the disaster that devastated the northeast coastline and triggered the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl.

The road map is intended to provide a time frame for when infrastructure, such as power lines and roads, will be restored and when medical and nursing facilities will be ready for resume operation in disaster-hit areas in Fukushima, Abe said.

Abe also said the government is hoping to start transporting soil and waste contaminated by the Fukushima crisis to a temporary storage facility starting in January 2015.

The government has proposed setting up such a facility somewhere near the Fukushima plant, but none of the municipalities approached has agreed to host it.

Abe said the government will conduct more research on candidate sites from March to May before designating a host.

In another step to speed up reconstruction, Abe said the government will “boldly simplify” procedures for relocating buildings and houses to higher ground to shield residents from future tsunami, citing the easing of a procedure to purchase farmland as an example.

He said the government will promote new, competitive industries in the quake-hit Tohoku region to stimulate Japan’s economic growth. He specifically eyes setting up research and development facilities for wind power and medical equipment.

“I want to establish industries in the fields where we can address difficulties facing Japan and expand their business abroad,” Abe said.

While domestic utilities have boosted thermal power generation and consequently increased natural gas imports, Abe said Japan wants to diversify its energy sources in a way that will help reduce costs, possibly by importing shale gas.

  • disqus_wi7hSYo7zt

    Fukushima is a problem. Japan needs nuclear power. Why not build new reactors on Hashima? You will need a long extension cord but I think Japanese engineers are up to the challenge

    • goofyfootgaijin

      How can one possibly reach the conclusion that Japan “needs” nuclear power? Japan is the most ridiculous place in the world for nuclear power generation, and it is a complete delusion to believe otherwise. The economic argument makes no sense whatsoever considering the massive subsidies the industry has had to receive (the plants are uninsurable), the lack of a viable location or method for dealing with the toxic waste produced, and as this article explains the massive human and economic toll nuclear power can exact. How much more evidence is necessary? Germany, Europe’s top economy, seems to think none. Would that the public here were as informed and pragmatic.

  • thedudeabidez

    Japan does not “need” nuclear power; it was a bit over 20% of the energy mix in terms of capacity before 3/11, far less now, and a concerted effort into renewable could easily replace that. The reason it is not happening is because the power companies want to frame the choice as nuclear power or blackouts. In the future, anyone even wishing to discuss the possibility of continuing nuclear should have to come up with a plan as to how the waste is going to be treated/stored, or otherwise not even bothering to enter the discussion. With this unresolved issue on the table and properly accounted for, nuclear no longer becomes a cost-effective energy option for Japan. At present, that cost is simply being ignored for future generations to deal with, most likely in the form of shoddily stored, leaking, groundwater polluting “temporary” storage sites.