Japan’s reconstruction panel set up, basic plan to be ready in June
TOKYO, April 11, Kyodo
The government on Monday set up a key panel tasked with formulating proposals for the reconstruction of Japan’s devastated northeastern areas following a catastrophic earthquake and ensuing tsunami a month ago.
The Reconstruction Design Council will hold its first meeting on Thursday at the premier’s office. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told a news conference that the council will prepare a set of basic proposals by around June.
The 15-member council is headed by Makoto Iokibe, president of the National Defense Academy of Japan. Other members include architect Tadao Ando, scriptwriter Makiko Uchidate, Keio University head Atsushi Seike, Sony Corp. Vice Chairman Ryoji Chubachi and Takashi Mikuriya, a University of Tokyo political professor.
Miyagi Gov. Yoshihiro Murai, Iwate Gov. Takuya Tasso and Fukushima Gov. Yuhei Sato, whose prefectures have been severely affected by the March 11 disasters, will also be part of the council.
The council formed a group of experts under its wing. Each expert will attend depending on the policies being discussed, such as employment and housing, according to government officials.
Iokibe told reporters he was asked by Prime Minister Naoto Kan to raise the people’s hopes by presenting a promising reconstruction plan.
Kan has also decided to set up a new Cabinet task force on post-quake reconstruction in the near future, according to the officials.
The task force, in which all Cabinet members will participate, is aimed at drafting a plan for reconstruction based on proposals to be submitted by the design council, the officials said.
Kan’s Democratic Party of Japan also has its own panel on reconstruction, which is headed by the ruling party’s Secretary General Katsuya Okada and mainly in charge of coordinating relevant policies with opposition parties.
The government is hoping to reconstruct the devastated region at an early date by realizing close cooperation between the three bodies — the design council, the Cabinet task force and the DPJ panel.
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