Nine months since the devastating earthquake and tsunami struck Japan and triggered a nuclear crisis, efforts for recovery are said to have reached the tipping point.
About $155 billion has been allocated to finance reconstruction of the northeastern region severely stricken by the three-fold disaster. With the initial emergency budget in the sum of 6 trillion yen ($77.19 billion), Japan has seen temporary repairs of damaged roads and railways, restoration of ruined ports, and the relocation of 47,000 households to temporary shelters, Reuters reported.
The debris that accumulated to 22 million tons has been cleaned up to as much as two-thirds. However, permanent disposal site of the rubble remained to be a concern given the fear of radiation contamination.
Despite the substantial recovery projects, many residents in the disaster-hit region are adamant in going back for lack of jobs. The number of jobless residents has soared to 70% more than previous year.
“The people who evacuated the area after the disaster won’t feel compelled to return unless they can find stable jobs, so reconstruction without job creation would be a failure," said Hideo Kumano, chief economist at Daiichi Life Research Institute.
Experts and authorities believe it is crucial to bolster the economy in the tsunami-hit areas which used to account up to 7% of Japan’s economic output to prevent it from a downturn in the midst of a global economic slowdown and the European debt crisis.
More than infrastructure development, experts said it is important to support livelihood, employment opportunities and building homes so as to bring people back. Only then would the economy on the ravaged region thrive again and real recovery to begin.