Quake-hit Tohoku areas to share reconstruction costs starting next April


Local governments in the Tohoku region affected by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami will from next April be forced to bear some of the cost of reconstruction work, the central government said Tuesday.

Under the plan, local governments in disaster-hit areas will be required to be more financially self-sufficient after five years of central government-funded efforts.

However, the framework, which the government hopes to finalize as early as late June, is likely to face opposition from municipalities that say it falls short of what is needed.

According to a central government source, Tokyo estimates its share of reconstruction costs between fiscal years 2016 and 2020 at ¥5.8 trillion, well below the ¥8 trillion expected by local governments in the region.

Arguing that the public should not incur a greater tax burden financing reconstruction works, reconstruction minister Wataru Takeshita said at a news conference Tuesday he hopes the local governments “can find the will to be self-dependent.”

Under the Reconstruction Agency plan, the central government will continue to shoulder the full cost of key projects for five years from next April, including relocating houses to higher ground and dealing with the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear crisis.

Local governments will share the cost of projects not exclusively linked to rebuilding, such as improving coastal roads and developing tourist attractions.

For projects with no link to rebuilding, such improving inland roads, the costs will be the same as for local governments in other parts of Japan.