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HOME  > Past issues  > 2012 April 18 - 24  > Clearing debris from tsunami delayed in Miyagi
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2012 April 18 - 24 [GREAT EAST JAPAN DISASTER]

Clearing debris from tsunami delayed in Miyagi

April 23, 2012
Removal of mountains of rubble is a crucial task for reconstruction of areas devastated by the 3.11 massive earthquake and tsunami. It is, however, moving too slowly, especially in Miyagi Prefecture, which is leaving the work almost entirely to general contractor construction companies.

According to the Environment Ministry, the total amount of debris in the tsunami-hit prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima amounts to 22.5 million tons. Having the largest amount of 15.73 million tons of the wreckage, Miyagi has so far disposed of only 8% of the debris.

The prefectural office has placed a bulk order for the removal of rubble with a joint venture (JV) led by major general construction firms. The JV that won the 192 billion yen contract for debris disposal in Ishinomaki City does not include a incineration plant maker or a waste-disposal company.

“General contractors have no clue about how to go about proper waste disposal,” said a local waste-disposal business owner. “They say they intend to collecting debris from a large area and incinerate them all together at a large plant, but they don’t even have an incinerator yet. What is needed for quick disposal is to collect and incinerate smaller amounts of rubble in smaller areas,” he added.

An executive of a local construction company said, “The authorities should take more initiative and have local businesses involved in the removal of rubble.”

Miyagi Prefectural Assembly members of the Japanese Communist Party have demanded that the prefectural government set a smaller scale for disposal projects and place the orders with local businesses as much as it can.

Yokota Yushi, chair of the JCP local assembly members’ group, criticized the prefectural government for delaying the process of rubble disposal by depending entirely on major construction companies. “Setting the orders at a much smaller scale and placing them with local businesses will be more efficient. This would help restore the local economy too,” he stressed.
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