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10 More Years for Japan’s Reconstruction Agency to Aid Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Recovery

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Fans cheer during a Rugby World Cup match at Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium in Kamaishi, Iwate Prefecture, on Sept. 25. The government is looking to extend the term of the Reconstruction Agency for 10 more years.
Japan’s Reconstruction Agency to get 10 more years to aid Fukushima nuclear disaster recovery
 
Nov 7, 2019
The government on Thursday proposed extending the term of the Reconstruction Agency, due to expire at the end of fiscal 2020, by 10 years to facilitate recovery in areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake and the resulting nuclear crisis in Fukushima.
Under the plan, the agency will continue to provide aid for the next five years to areas affected by the magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011.
The special budget for rebuilding, which is separate from the regular account, and special tax grants for the financial support of affected municipalities will also be maintained.
The plan was proposed to a panel on reconstruction comprising experts and the governors of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures. The region suffered extensive damage from the earthquake and tsunami, in addition to the core meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
The plan is expected to be approved at a Cabinet meeting within this year and be submitted to the Diet next year.
“We have shown our basic view on finances and the legal framework,” Kazunori Tanaka, reconstruction minister, said at the panel meeting. “Based on various opinions from the panel members, we will continue to work toward realizing the plan.”
Fukushima Gov. Masao Uchibori expressed satisfaction with the plan, saying it “reflects the reality of our prefecture” as the government is continuing to lead efforts to address problems in connection with the nuclear crisis.
But Miyagi Gov. Yoshihiro Murai said the ending of aid for areas damaged by the quake and tsunami in five years is “too harsh.”
Iwate Gov. Takuya Tasso shared the concern, saying, “I hope it will not be a strict deadline after which everything will be stopped.”
The Reconstruction Agency was established in February 2012 as the central control point for efforts to rebuild from the disaster.
During the proposed extended period, the agency will continue working on a variety of tasks including the decommissioning of the Fukushima plant, combating radiation-tainted water and helping residents return.
It will also provide psychological support to people affected by the earthquake and tsunami, and review the progress in reconstruction efforts in fiscal 2025.
The plan is mostly in line with a recommendation the ruling coalition submitted to the government in August. The coalition said the Reconstruction Agency should remain under the direct control of the prime minister and the oversight of a full-time Cabinet minister.
The ruling bloc also called for preserving the agency’s function as a one-stop source to coordinate planning for reconstruction policies and to respond to the needs of affected communities.
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A Japanese Reconstruction Agency official, left, explains Japan’s efforts to rebuild areas hit by the March 2011 disaster to a foreign journalist at Intex Osaka, the venue for the Group of 20 summit, on June 28, 2019.
Japan gov’t may keep Reconstruction Agency for 10 more years
 
November 7, 2019
TOKYO (Kyodo) — The government on Thursday proposed postponing the planned disbandment of the Reconstruction Agency for 10 years until March 2031 to facilitate recovery in areas affected by the Fukushima nuclear crisis.
Under the plan, the agency will also continue to provide aid for five more years to areas affected by the magnitude-9.0 earthquake and ensuing tsunami on March 11, 2011, which triggered core meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
The plan was proposed to a panel on reconstruction comprised of experts and the governors of the three hardest-hit prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima. It is expected to be approved by the Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe within the year and be submitted to the Diet next year.
“We have shown our basic view on finances and the legal framework,” said reconstruction minister Kazunori Tanaka. “Based on various opinions from the panel members, we will continue to work toward realizing the plan.”
Fukushima Gov. Masao Uchibori expressed satisfaction with the plan, saying it “reflects the reality of our prefecture” as the government is continuing to lead efforts to address problems in connection with the nuclear crisis.
But Miyagi Gov. Yoshihiro Murai said the ending of aid for areas damaged by the quake and tsunami in five years is “too harsh.”
Iwate Gov. Takuya Tasso shared the concern, saying, “I hope it will not be a strict deadline after which everything will be stopped.”
The Reconstruction Agency was established in February 2012 as the central control point for efforts to rebuild from the triple disasters and had been scheduled to disband at the end of fiscal 2020.
During the proposed extended period, the agency will continue working on a variety of tasks including decommissioning of the Fukushima plant, combating radiation-tainted water and helping residents return.
It will also provide psychological support to people affected by the earthquake and tsunami and review the progress in reconstruction efforts after five years.
The special budget for rebuilding, which is separate from the regular account, and subsidies for helping affected municipalities will be maintained.
The central government spent 25.5 trillion yen ($234 billion) for reconstruction in the first five-year period through fiscal 2015, while securing 6.5 trillion yen for another five years with part of the costs shouldered by relevant municipalities.
As of early October, there were still about 49,000 people who remain displaced from their hometowns as a result of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis, compared with 470,000 estimated shortly after the triple disaster occurred.

November 19, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , | Leave a comment

Japan’s Reconstruction Agency to Fold in 2021

Japan studies how to support 2011 disaster areas after Reconstruction Agency folds in 2021
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Staff are seen at the Reconstruction Agency in Tokyo in February 2017.
The government has started work to determine how to support rebuilding efforts in areas of northeastern Japan hit by the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster after the Reconstruction Agency is abolished in March 2021, sources said Tuesday.
The government has started by gathering views from 12 municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture, where a number of residents were forced to evacuate following the triple meltdown at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s crippled Fukushima No. 1 power plant. The goal is to find out what support the municipalities expect from the central government, according to officials familiar with the matter.
The government aims to establish a basic assistance policy by the end of March 2020, chiefly by determining the roles of an organization that will succeed the agency, the officials said.
The agency was set up in February 2012 to take control of support for reconstruction efforts — particularly in severely damaged areas in the three Tohoku prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima.
It now has some 520 staff to support those affected and back business revitalization. It is also helping with the return of evacuees to their homes in Fukushima.
Legally, the agency cannot exist beyond March 2021, when the government-set reconstruction period for the disaster expires. But affected areas are still struggling. In Fukushima, evacuation advisories remain intact in some areas, prolonging recovery work even further.
The basic support policy and a blueprint for the successor organization will be finalized based on the results of the Fukushima survey, as well as talks with the Iwate and Miyagi prefectural governments and the ruling camp, the officials said.
The government hopes to see necessary legislation pass the Diet in 2020, they added.
One likely scenario regarding the successor body is setting up a department at the Cabinet Office to mainly support reconstruction efforts. But there are calls for creating a government agency to take charge of disaster prevention and reconstruction across the country, critics have said.

January 24, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , | Leave a comment