Japanese Government Cleaning Up Earthquake Debris

The Japanese government will cover nearly all costs of clearing debris in northeastern areas devastated by the March 11 powerful quake and tsunami, a senior government official said Sunday.

Tokyo is considering measures that will go beyond those taken after the 1995 quake that devastated western Japan’s Kobe area, Yukihiko Akutsu, parliamentary secretary for the Cabinet Office, said.

This is because the damage caused by the latest quake was magnified by the subsequent tsunami, Akutsu told a meeting of the Miyagi prefectural government’s disaster relief taskforce.

The central government covered 97.5 pct of the costs of clearing debris after the 1995 earthquake, while municipalities financed the remainder.

Akutsu also said that prefectural governments, instead of municipalities, can take the lead in removing debris to speed up postquake reconstruction.

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