Japan clears up only 5 percent of tsunami rubble
Regional governments are unable to offer support for the cleanup effort due to strong opposition from residents.
Tue, Feb 21, 2012 at 09:09 AM
TOO LITTLE, TOO SLOW: A worker surveys the debris in Sendai in August 2011. The slow tsunami clean-up effort has prevented community rebuilding in areas affected by the tsunami. (Photo: Lars Nikolaysen/ZUMA Press)
TOKYO — Japan has cleared up just five percent of the rubble left by last year's earthquake and tsunami, the government said on Feb. 21, amid fears it has been contaminated following the Fukushima nuclear accident.
The twin disasters, which devastated the northeastern coastal communities last year, left almost 23 million tonnes of rubble in the hardest-hit prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima alone.
Getting rid of the giant piles of debris is essential for communities in the disaster zone to be rebuilt.
But despite calls for national solidarity contamination fears have led local authorities around the country to refuse to allow the debris to be disposed of near them.
Currently only Tokyo and Yamagata prefecture have accepted some of the burden, while other regional governments have not been able to offer help in the face of strong opposition from residents.
The government aims to clear up all the disaster rubble by March 2014, but Environment Minister Goshi Hosono said on Feb. 21 it would be "extremely difficult" to achieve this if the pace of processing continues at such a slow pace.
Copyright 2012 AFP Asian Edition