Trillions for rebuilding Tohoku go unused

Kyodo

The Reconstruction Agency said Wednesday that ¥3.4 trillion — 35.2 percent — of the ¥9.74 trillion in the fiscal 2012 budget slated to rebuild areas hit by the March 2011 disasters went unused.

The year before, 39.4 percent of the reconstruction budget, or around ¥5.9 trillion, went unspent, indicating the recovery effort has suffered from poor planning.

Difficulties coordinating reconstruction plans between different levels of government and forming a consensus among disaster-hit residents have hampered construction, the agency said.

Shortages of workers and materials were also cited.

“We need to have systematic backup to promote reconstruction and facilitate the use of the budget for that purpose,” reconstruction minister Takumi Nemoto said.

The unused ¥3.42 trillion for fiscal 2012 will be reallocated for future reconstruction work.

Last year, ¥4.73 trillion was allocated to rebuild roads and embankments, as well as to relocate residential areas, but 43.9 percent in this category was unused.

Of the ¥655.6 billion earmarked for washing away contamination from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, 67.9 percent was unused, the agency said.

This reflects the difficulty of securing storage sites for contaminated fallen leaves and soil, the agency said.

Unless rebuilding moves forward, devastated communities will keep shrinking, further slowing the process, observers said.

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