JAPAN | Govt eyes Fukushima Pref. as R&D center

Posted on July 28, 2011

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JAPAN | YOMIURI SHIMBUN | 28 July 2011

The government hopes to transform Fukushima Prefecture into a center for medical and renewable energy research institutions, a move aimed at promoting post-March 11 disaster reconstruction in the prefecture affected by the ongoing nuclear crisis.

The idea is included in a final draft for guidelines to be drawn up by the government by the end of this month to rehabilitate areas struck by the Great East Japan Earthquake, according to government sources.

The draft also incorporates a plan to provide low-rent public housing for quake victims who find it difficult to rebuild their houses.

The guidelines are to be finalized at a meeting of the government’s earthquake disaster reconstruction headquarters Friday.

In the final draft of the plan, the government clearly states that it will be responsible for measures for reconstruction from the nuclear disaster.

The government pledges to “take necessary actions” for the decontamination of soil polluted with radioactive materials and the final disposal of waste from the disaster.

The plan also aims to establish “research and development bases for medicine and medical equipment that can become a leader in the world” and “research institutes for the world’s most advanced renewable energy studies” in Fukushima Prefecture.

In the draft, the government aims to encourage many related industries to set up bases in the prefecture.

The draft mentions that special public housing for quake victims who lost their homes will be sold to tenants who wish to buy them.

About revitalization of the tourism industry, the government plans to reorganize national parks, such as Rikuchu Kaigan National Park, which stretches along parts of the coasts of Iwate and Miyagi prefectures.

The government plans to establish a new national park along the Sanriku coasts with disaster-preparation facilities and long walking paths to symbolize the reconstruction.

In connection with the plan, the government on Tuesday held a meeting of the reconstruction headquarters at the Prime Minister’s Office and officially approved the scale of the reconstruction projects and measures to secure funds to be included in the basic plan.

The government aims to procure about 10 trillion yen through reconstruction bonds that will be redeemed in five to 10 years, and to earmark up to 3 trillion yen through cuts in government expenditures.

The government’s Tax Commission will start discussing measures for redeeming the reconstruction bonds in August, eyeing raises in core taxes such as the income, corporate and consumption taxes.

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