One year has passed since the Reconstruction Agency was established (Feb. 10, 2012) to help accelerate the reconstruction of areas hit by the massive quake and tsunami on March 11, 2011. As of Jan. 17, a reported 316,353 disaster victims, including those affected by the catastrophe at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, still cannot return to their homes. Current efforts are clearly insufficient and must be stepped up.

Many disaster victims, especially those near the Fukushima nuclear power plant, are having trouble rebuilding their lives and planning their futures. Merely rebuilding infrastructure is not enough; the agency must take measures to stabilize the lives of these citizens, who have already suffered far too much.

The Abe administration has increased the budget for 3/11-related reconstruction from the ¥19 trillion set by the Democratic Party of Japan government to ¥25 trillion, for a five-year period starting from fiscal 2011. The administration must take utmost care to prevent these funds from being used for purposes unrelated to reconstruction and disaster prevention in the areas affected by the 3/11 disasters.