The central government has not been able to identify half of some 2,400 owners of land in Fukushima Prefecture where it plans to build storage facilities for contaminated soil from the nuclear crisis, sources said.

The government intends to build the complex on around 16 sq. km of land in the towns of Okuma and Futaba that is designated as uninhabitable due to radiation contamination. Facility buildings have not yet been built due to slow progress in negotiations with the landowners.

To acquire the necessary land, the government needs to negotiate with all of the landowners. With around 1,200 of them remaining unknown, construction of the complex, seen as key to the rebuilding of Fukushima, is expected to be further delayed.

According to the sources, in many cases land registrations have not been renewed since the 1860s. It is also proving difficult to contact the two towns' residents who remain in evacuee accommodations across the country.

The government has begun transferring radioactive soil and other waste collected during decommissioning work within Fukushima to part of land it has borrowed free of charge from corporate landowners. But it has been able to conclude land purchasing contracts with only a few owners so far.