• Kyodo

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Fifty municipalities in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures hardest hit by the March 2011 earthquake are likely to have a personnel shortage of more than 2,500 in fiscal 2014, which begins April 1, raising concerns about delay in reconstruction work, the municipalities said Thursday.

The municipalities expect to make up for about 70 percent of the shortage by asking other regional governments across the country to dispatch some of their staff and hiring fixed-term personnel.

Behind the shortage is increasing work for reconstruction from the disaster while other municipalities do not have many employees they can send to help after having reduced their workforce for streamlining.

Of the combined personnel shortage of 2,525, Iwate accounts for 707 in 10 municipalities, Miyagi 1,515 in 15 municipalities and Fukushima 303 in 25 municipalities.

As of the end of January, the municipalities are expected to temporarily secure a combined 1,709 people for their reconstruction work.

In fiscal 2013, a total of 550 officials had been sent from municipalities across the country to the three prefectures as of Jan. 1, arranged by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, according to the ministry.