The government said Thursday that it will build nearly 20,000 public housing units by March 2016 for people affected by the March 2011 megaquake-tsunami disaster in the Tohoku region and consequent nuclear crisis.
The goal was stipulated in a plan for rebuilding homes and towns that the government compiled prior to the second anniversary Monday of the March 11 disaster, in which some 19,000 lives were lost.
The government also reiterated its pledge to accelerate efforts to decommission the four crippled reactors at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear complex and said it plans to finish revising the current work schedule for the whole process around June. The decommissioning is expected to take decades.
“What is mainly expected after two years is to rebuild homes and make the prospects clear to enable people to return to Fukushima Prefecture,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said during a meeting to discuss reconstruction projects.
The plan calls for the government to build around 5,100 public housing units in Iwate Prefecture, about 11,200 units in Miyagi Prefecture and around 2,900 units in Fukushima Prefecture by the end of fiscal 2015.
At the Fukushima nuclear plant, the government and Tokyo Electric Power Co. plan to start removing fuel assemblies stored in the spent-fuel pool of reactor 4 starting in November.
Under the current work schedule, the whole decommissioning process is expected to take around 40 years, but Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Toshimitsu Motegi has ordered ministry staff to consider moving up the schedule.