Forty percent of the reconstruction budget of about 15 trillion yen ($189 billion) remains unused, despite the continuing suffering of disaster victims and companies in the quake-hit Tohoku region, a government report showed.
The Reconstruction Agency said too much of the budget was set aside for repairs to roads and bridges, but the municipalities responsible for such infrastructure projects lacked the manpower, time and expertise to come up with blueprints.
The 15 trillion yen was earmarked in supplementary budgets for fiscal 2011 to rebuild areas devastated by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami on March 11 last year.
More than 9 trillion yen had been used by the end of fiscal 2011 while about 5.9 trillion yen remains idle, the agency’s report said.
About 4.8 trillion yen will be carried over to fiscal 2012 for reconstruction projects. But the remaining 1.1 trillion yen will be returned to the national treasury and used to repay the government debts or other purposes.
About 1.1 trillion yen was earmarked specifically for public works projects, such as repairing bridges and roads. Only 20 percent of that amount had been used by the end of fiscal 2011.
“We could not spend the money because municipalities were unable to come up with reconstruction plans,” an official at the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism said.
For public housing for disaster victims who lost their homes or were forced to evacuate, only 400 million yen of the 111.6-billion-yen allocation has been used, the report said. With no prospects for future construction of public housing, the remaining 111.2 billion yen will be returned to the national treasury, officials said.
Of the 2.4 trillion yen allotted to the land ministry, only 40 percent, or about 950 billion yen, was used in fiscal 2011. The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries spent only about 600 billion yen of the 1.5 trillion yen of reconstruction funds under its control.
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