Japan to Work on Population Issues in March 2011 Disaster Areas

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Japanese reconstruction minister Shinako Tsuchiya

Tokyo (Jiji Press)—Japanese reconstruction minister Shinako Tsuchiya on Sunday stressed the government’s intention to promote measures to increase populations in three northeastern prefectures hit hard by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

The three—Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima—are seeing larger population declines compared with other prefectures in Japan, she said in a television program.

Not only encouraging evacuated residents to return to their hometowns in the prefectures but also increasing the number of people moving to the areas are “a very important challenge” along with measures to make communities in the prefectures attractive, Tsuchiya said.

Japan is set to mark on Monday the 13th anniversary of the March 11, 2011, powerful earthquake and tsunami, which mainly struck the Tohoku northeastern region. The disaster led to a severe accident at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power station.

“It is important to expand sales channels” for the three prefectures’ core fisheries and fisheries-processing industries, Tsuchiya said. “We will provide full-fledged support.”

In the same TV program, Fukushima Governor Masao Uchibori said that there has so far been no major damage due to misinformation regarding the release of treated water containing tritium, a radioactive substance, from the Fukushima No. 1 plant into the ocean.

“I strongly urge the Japanese government and TEPCO to conduct the water release safely until the very end of the operations,” Uchibori said.

The treated water discharge into the ocean started last August.