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Friday, April 15, 2011

Task force starts to draw up ways to revive Tohoku


Staff writer

A government task force specially set up to handle reconstruction in quake- and tsunami-hit Tohoku region started Thursday to draw up ways to revive the devastated area.

During the first panel meeting held at his official residence, Prime Minister Naoto Kan said he hopes the Reconstruction Design Council, launched Monday, will present its final proposals by the end of June.

Cabinet members will then draft a reconstruction plan based on the proposals.

"I hope the panel will present ways not only to reconstruct the affected areas, but also create" a new Tohoku, Kan told the meeting.

The 15-member reconstruction panel is headed by Makoto Iokibe, president of the National Defense Academy of Japan.

The governors of devastated Miyagi, Iwate and Fukushima prefectures are included on the panel so their opinions can be reflected in the final proposals.

The three governors told the panel that reviving the agriculture and fisheries industries is key to rebuilding Tohoku's fortunes.

Referring to the Fukushima nuclear crisis, the prefecture's governor, Yuhei Sato, said he told the council members that local farmers have already been severely affected through radiation contaminating their produce.

Many consumers are turning away from even safe Fukushima produce in the mistaken belief they are also contaminated, he said of the power plant disaster, Sato said.

A government task force specially set up to handle reconstruction in quake- and tsunami-hit Tohoku region started Thursday to draw up ways to revive the devastated area.



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