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INTERVIEW: Plan for new reconstruction body expected by year-end

  • October 3, 2019
  • , Jiji Press , 9:00 a.m.
  • English Press

Tokyo, Oct. 2 (Jiji Press)–New Japanese postdisaster reconstruction minister Kazunori Tanaka hopes to decide the concrete image of a planned successor body to the Reconstruction Agency by year-end.

 

The image will be based chiefly on requests from municipalities in areas hit by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, he said in a recent interview with Jiji Press and other media organizations.

 

The government will consider how long the planned organization should exist after succeeding the agency, to be dissolved at the end of March 2021, Tanaka said.

 

“Top priority should be given to voices of people in disaster areas” when details of the successor entity are considered, Tanaka said, adding he is aware of various requests.

 

“The successor organization will need to function as a control tower, like the Reconstruction Agency, under political leadership and responsibility,” he said.

 

The reconstruction of Fukushima Prefecture, also hit hard by the 2011 nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s <9501> Fukushima No. 1 plant, needs medium- to long-term plans, Tanaka said.

 

The central government therefore must take the initiative in promoting reconstruction efforts there, he continued.

 

As for remaining challenges during the government-set intensive reconstruction period through fiscal 2020, Tanaka underlined the need to continue home visits and other support for people in disaster areas, care for those suffering trauma and study assistance for children.

 

In areas severely affected by the nuclear accident, the minister highlighted the importance of paving the way for allowing displaced residents to return to their homes.

 

He also emphasized the need to implement the Fukushima Innovation Coast Framework, aimed at inviting new industries to the coastal area of Fukushima, and medium- to long-term measures to combat harmful rumors.

 

Asked how to utilize the momentum from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics for postdisaster reconstruction, Tanaka said the games “will be the best opportunity to show the current situation of disaster areas to people at home and abroad.”

 

The areas will be featured in many events related to the 2020 Games, including the Olympic torch relay, he said, expressing a wish to work closely with local municipalities and the 2020 games organizing committee so the events will be held without a hitch.

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