Quarter of Japan tsunami recovery budget spent on unrelated projects

Featured Japan - November 1st, 2012

An audit by the Japanese government has found that 25% of the 11.7 trillion yen (about $148 billion) allocated to rebuilding and regeneration projects after the earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 has been spent on unrelated projects.

There has been an angry reaction to the findings, with many in the affected areas feeling the recovery is taking too long. More than a year and a half after the disaster, there are still reported to be over 300,000 people still living in temporary accommodation with no indication of when – or indeed whether – they will be able to return to their homes.

Headline figures the media is reporting seem to be the 500 million spent on road construction in Okinawa – 1,600km to the south of the affected area – and the 2.3 billion given to the fisheries agency. Reports that Japan’s government has denied suggest that that money is being used to help protect Japan’s controversial whaling fleet from attack by protesters.

Officials from the government have defended the spending, saying that what some might consider unrelated businesses actually have relationships with smaller firms in the northern region. The government has pledged to spend 23 trillion yen by 2020.