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FROM THE ARCHIVES: Ghost towns trapped in red tape two years after disaster in Japan

This story first appeared in The Straits Times on March 11, 2013

Published on Mar 11, 2014 4:38 PM
People at Iwaki in Fukushima prefecture joining hands on March 10, 2013 to mourn victims of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Many of the ravaged townships may lie vacant for years, say observers. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

FUKUSHIMA CITY - Bureaucratic red tape and lack of skilled manpower are holding up the reconstruction of disaster-hit areas of Japan's Tohoku (north-east) region, even two years after it was slammed by giant tremors and tsunami waves.

Former nuclear plant worker Yasunori Hashimoto, 72, and his wife are still living in temporary housing after their house in Odaka district of Minami-Soma city, just 30m from the sea, was washed away by tsunami waves.

"We are waiting for the local government to take action, but nothing has been done so far. Because of this, we cannot make any plans, such as selling our land," he said.

Many of the tsunami-ravaged townships may be destined to lie vacant for years, said observers.

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