TOKYO (Nikkei)–The government plans to clear most of the debris from residential areas of the disaster-stricken Tohoku region by the end of August as part of a broader effort to improve quality of life for residents.
A draft blueprint for the effort, obtained by The Nikkei, outlines specific reconstruction measures and targets for the next three months. The document will be formally adopted by the government’s disaster task force as early as May 17.
Self-Defense Forces personnel struggle to clear debris in Otsuchi, Iwate Prefecture.
The March 11 earthquake and tsunami have left the region littered with washed-up automobiles, ships and other debris, hampering reconstruction efforts.
The blueprint calls for the creation of a waste-disposal plan that will outline procedures for removing debris from the hardest-hit prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima.
As for the temporary housing Prime Minister Naoto Kan has promised to provide by the traditional Bon holidays in August, the government will dispatch personnel to help local governments secure land needed for construction.
Some 30,400 housing units are scheduled to be completed in the three prefectures by the end of May. Although the government is confident about procuring building materials for another 30,000 units during the June-August period, efforts to secure land have lagged.
Separately, some 190km of the roughly 300km of levees on the coasts of the three prefectures have been partially or completely destroyed, leading to concerns of additional damage from high waves or another tsunami. The government plans to fortify the levees by placing sandbags ahead of the rainy season in June and by using debris and other materials before typhoons hit Japan beginning in August.
Temporary repairs of national roads and other key streets are almost complete, and full-scale restoration work has begun. The government expects that drivers will no longer have to take detours by around autumn. Full repairs of key roads managed by municipalities are expected to start after stopgap repairs are finished around August.