Tuesday, May 26, 2015Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Voters in tsunami-hit zone feel let down as Japan election nears

Published on Nov 26, 2012 6:22 AM
People make their way as they look for their houses among the ruins of the destroyed residential part of Kamaishi, more than a week after the town was devastated by a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami in this Mar 20, 2011 file photograph. -- PHOTO : REUTERS

KAMAISHI, Japan (REUTERS) - Three weeks before Japan's first national election since the March 2011 earthquake, none of the contenders has managed to win the hearts, and votes, of those hardest-hit by the disaster - with many feeling let down by the entire political class.

Volunteers and donations had poured in after the magnitude 9.0 quake off the north-east coast of Japan's main island Honshu unleashed a deadly tsunami that killed nearly 19,000 and triggered reactor meltdowns at the Fukushima nuclear plant.

But 20 months later, residents of towns and cities ravaged by the country's worst disaster in generations say the nation's biggest rebuilding effort since the aftermath of the World War Two has slipped off the political agenda.

"I am not expecting anything from the election results,"said Mr Akio Ono, president of seafood processing firm Ono Foods, in Kamaishi, a port with a population of 38,000, where more than 1,000 residents were killed by the tsunami.

Enjoy 2 weeks of unlimited digital access to The Straits Times. Get your free access now!