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HOME  > Past issues  > 2011 May 25 - 31  > Miyagi governor leaves recovery play to business think tank
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2011 May 25 - 31 [GREAT EAST JAPAN DISASTER]

Miyagi governor leaves recovery play to business think tank

May 29-30, 2011
The business think tank Nomura Research Institute (NRI) has turned out to be the mastermind behind the drawing up of a blueprint for reconstructing the disaster-hit prefecture of Miyagi.

NRI, Mitsubishi Research Institute, and other similar organizations were represented at the prefecture’s reconstruction conference, in which only two of the twelve members live in Miyagi. Governor Murai Yoshihiro had to come to Tokyo to attend the second meeting of the conference on how to reconstruct Miyagi.

Asked by reporters about how conference members were selected, the governor said, “I dared to go ahead with almost no Miyagi residents present.”

The “recovery” concepts proposed so far are based on the “structural reform” policy advocated by the business circles, neglecting the needs of the prefectural people.

In agriculture, the conference calls for allowing private corporations to enter into agriculture and consolidating farmland into larger units.

As to reconstruction of fisheries, it calls for setting up a special zone where corporations are allowed to obtain fishing rights.

Local fishers say, “We live here and will hand down our fishing tradition for generations. That is what fishing is all about. Stock companies in fishing are the laughingstock in the fishing community.” Fishermen in the prefecture are unanimously opposed to the scheme.

About 28,000 disaster victims are still living in some 400 temporary shelters in the prefecture. However, the governor is making every effort to realize the business circles’ aspirations, taking the disaster as the best opportunity to penetrate the local economy.

Local residents who oppose this business-first scheme launched the Miyagi Center for Aiding Restoration and Reconstruction on May 29, aiming at reconstruction in which victims and the prefectural people should be the key players.

Tsunashima Fujio, an initiator and ex-professor at Yamagata University, said, “The prefectural authorities are quick to respond to requests in favor of the business circles but are very slow to respond to requests that are beneficial to ordinary people. We need to work together to draw up a reconstruction plan of our own.”
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