A day before the third anniversary of the March 2011 disasters, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reiterated his vow to hasten reconstruction efforts in areas still affected. While he sees recovery as on-going, he stressed the need to hurry current efforts as he believes that reconstruction in Fukushima is vital for the revival of Japan.
Last Saturday, Abe visited Fukushima to check on the area. Meeting with some residents of Miyakoji District in the city of Tamura, one suggested the construction of playgrounds to attract students when school reopens after the evacuation order is lifted in April. The resident believes that many children in the city will help its recovery. In a meeting with the House of Councillors Budget Committee on Monday, he relayed plans to have around 10,000 public housing units ready for the survivors’ occupation by March next year. Abe also mentioned plans to relocate around 200 communities to higher ground as prevention. According to the prime minister, work on removing debris in Iwate and Miyagi prefectures are to be completed this month.
While Abe acknowledges that progress has been made in the rebuilding efforts, a lot still remains to be achieved, as almost 270,000 evacuees remain living in temporary housing. He vowed further efforts to be made as the nation enters its 4th year since the disasters took place, and promised to address any issue that would impede recovery by listening to people helping in the reconstruction efforts. In reference to complaints by residents on planned high levees blocking their views, Abe pledged to consult with local authorities before the project is undertaken to ensure that the plans are reviewed.