35% of Japan’s reconstruction budget for tsunami areas going unused

Kyodo

The Reconstruction Agency said Thursday that 35.3 percent of the ¥7.5 trillion fiscal 2013 budget for rebuilding areas damaged by the March 2011 disasters hasn’t been used yet — the latest evidence that the region’s recovery is being delayed.

In fiscal 2012, 35.2 percent of the budget was left unused.

The agency said the money went unspent because of labor shortages, surging prices for materials and difficulties in coordinating the reconstruction plans with residents.

The unused amount is being reallocated for reconstruction work in the current fiscal year.

Looking at the fiscal 2013 budget, 55.2 percent of the ¥1 billion allocated for post-disaster restoration went unused partly due to lack of local agreement on seawall heights and other reasons.

In some cases, construction firms pulled out of projects because the costs of materials had soared.