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Construction crunch slows Tohoku rebuilding

26 Comments
By ELAINE KURTENBACH

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26 Comments
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Reconstruction plans are taking shape after three years of debate and red tape, but shortages of skilled workers and materials are delaying the work.

3 Years..... heck, they might as well have been given mobile homes from the start.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Well the rest of Japan told the region to ganbatte, so ganbatte ne.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Both locals AND the rest of the nation have put in a huge amount of effort to help the people and region through charity events, pressure groups and direct aid. As usual, the general public has stepped up to the mark admirably. It's at times like this (the anniversary) that you realize how much there is still left to do.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

maybe if the country stood up and worked to make it happen it would happen. Money to retraining for workers, or pick any of a million obvious things to be doing. But prioritizing the Olympics over your own people is sad to read. I wish it would change.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Building for the Olympics also builds politicians' egos. I wonder if that is why it seems to have precedence over rebuilding Tohoku.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Less than 8% of 6,038 public housing units that Iwate prefecture is planning are finished. Two-thirds aren’t due to be ready until 2015 at the earliest.

What is wrong with you Japan?

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

Why am I not surprised that priority is being put on building for the Olympics -- which Japan got in part because it claimed the Olympics would help reconstruction in the north -- over reconstruction?

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

The crunch is getting enough workers, most of the free construction workers in Tohoku are either on the Pacific coast working on reconstruction, or working at Dai-ichi on fixing the mess there. Unless the government starts a programme to support getting more people into construction and gathers them from the rest of Japan, things are going to crawl. There's also the question of what these workers will do after the boom ends.

Also, One nasty flipside of the reconstruction boom is that there is a lack of workers on the Japan Sea side of Tohoku - this is especially hard in winter when extra hands are needed to clear the snow from building rooves.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Disgusting! As long as the Olympics stay on schedule screw Tohoku! It will be so embarrassing for japan when the thousands of international tourists come to japan for the Olympics and want to tour the the devastated areas and they find it's still a desert and tens of thousands are still living in cardboard shelters. おつかれさま 日本!

1 ( +4 / -3 )

I'm disgusted by this! Japan used the disasters to sway vote on favor of getting the Olympics and now shows it cares far less about getting people properly housed and settled than some PR exercise that could really have been held anywhere around the globe. Why not have the Olympics in Morioka or Sendai? Might be a different story then, but somehow I doubt it.

It takes 10 years to train construction workers? Well, not unless they are building shoddy tanks to house dangerous radioactive water...but let's not worry about that. It's all under control.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

There is a sad lesson to be learned here; beyond simple, temporary measures the government will not and cannot help you in the case of a major disaster. The world is changing for the worse. Politicians and government officials are the new royalty while we average citizens are the peasants who serve through paying taxes. If you are waiting for help you will wait forever. You will need to take care of yourself and start again. This is certainly not fair but it is the new reality.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

As Japan’s over-stretched construction industry begins gearing up to build venues and revamp aging infrastructure for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, shortages of skilled carpenters and heavy equipment operators as well as cement and other materials, are frustrating residents and local officials.

So let me make sure I've got this straight -- the Tokyo Olympic Committee when on-and-on to the IOC about how having the Olympics there would show how the country has recovered from the quake/tsunami and also lift the spirits of the residents there. But, secretly knowing all along, that precious construction resources would be stolen from the re-building effort in order to take care of Abe's follie. Japan should be ashamed of itself.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Just checked Tanohata out on Google - beautiful little town with amazing rugged scenery and I would imagine, stunning sunsets.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The third paragraph says it all.

The construction industry is just another arm of Japan's bureaucracy. The money flows where the bureaucracy wants it to. Look at all the "bridges to nowhere" and ghost resorts.

Make no mistake--if the government didn't want there to be a "construction crunch" in Tohoku, there wouldn't be one.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Yakuza in the Construction Industry making more Yen building Olympic Venues then homes.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Yes, and not just, it seems the money for Olympic contracts is so good that there is insane shortage of workers for any construction projects all over Japan... makes no sense... oh and companies started importing Chinese and Korean construction workers already .

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Voice of Reason: How about letting foreign construction companies bid on rebuilding in Tohoku?

Mr. Taro: (spitting and coughing uncontrollably) You idiot! We can't have foreign devils in Japan!!!

2 ( +5 / -3 )

" The priority placed on big infrastructure such as sea walls is slowing the rebuilding of homes and communities while failing to address the region’s longer term decline as younger residents leave and the population shrinks and ages…"

Centrally-planned debacle. Public works projects always misdirect resources and labor at the expense of expropriated taxes that could have been available otherwise.

Must read: Henry Hazlitt - Economics in One Lesson.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

"As Japan’s over-stretched construction industry begins gearing up to build venues and revamp aging infrastructure for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, shortages of skilled carpenters and heavy equipment operators as well as cement and other materials, are frustrating residents and local officials." ...that says it all (sorry if I repeated what many others have said). Still bewildered about what all of the support for the LDP is about.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Why are they re-building the sea walls? They did not exactly help on 3/11 did they. I thought they would instead re-build the houses on higher ground, and leave the low areas for commerce and tourism?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

After three years these people have long been forgotten, If Shinzo Abe were to be as gung-ho with the rebuilding program as he is with stepping on its neighbors' toes and throwing salt on their unhealed wounds everyone would have been re-located or at least provided with proper housing. Having won the 2020 Olympics venue it is unlikely that speed would be the word for these forgotten people. Priority will be given to construction of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics venues. But, will there be one?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

3 Years..... heck, they might as well have been given mobile homes from the start.

uTrack, where would mobile homes for 200,000 people have come from, at the start? And where would, could the have been put? Where could they be put now?

Not enough people want to work in construction. Not enough skilled tradesmen. I know that HelloWork / Shokuan is providing free training for people in the effected regions to get training to use heavy equipment, etc.. Still, it's tough work and it's bloody cold in the winter.

I really wish nothing new were to be built for the Olympics. Bloody waste of resources.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Disgusting government in this country... It is sad because this country is so beautiful and the people are so nice, which is one of the reasons I love living here. Yet everyday I read more and more news about the aging money hungry government.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

uTrack, where would mobile homes for 200,000 people have come from, at the start?

taj, the same place donations come from, from all over the world. The US has tons of them from the Louisiana disaster.

And where would, could the have been put? Where could they be put now?

Higher ground, campsites, they could travel Japan if they want.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I almost wonder if the gov't isn't dragging their feet on reconstruction, hoping that enough people will get frustrated and move away, thus letting the gov't off the hook to try and rebuild the region for a small number of people.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Yeah and what about the folks who J Govt said they could move back to their homes after abandoning them for 3 years

Gov't to lift evacuation order for Fukushima town on April 1, National Feb. 25, 2014

http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/govt-to-lift-evacuation-order-for-fukushima-town-april-1#comment_1737491

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

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