National

Japanese government aims to have all evacuees in Miyagi and Iwate secure new homes by 2021

Kyodo

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Thursday that by March 2021 the government will aim to complete the building and securing of houses for those forced to evacuate due to the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in two of the three hardest-hit prefectures in Tohoku.

The government will do all it can to help those still unable to secure new homes to move out of temporary housing in Miyagi and Iwate prefectures over the next few years, the prime minister said.

“Securing housing will be an important step toward reconstruction,” Abe told reporters in Higashimatsushima during a trip to see recovery progress from the magnitude 9.0 quake.

During a meeting with municipal officials who are on loan from other cities and towns to Higashimatsushima, Abe encouraged them to bring their experiences in the disaster-hit city home with them once they return to their municipalities.

As of June, some 62,000 people were still unable to return to their homes and about 9,000 were living in temporary housing.

It is expected to take longer for evacuees in Fukushima Prefecture, where the disaster-struck Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant is located, due to contamination caused by the nuclear catastrophe.