【editorial】Shameful waste of tax money via The Japan Times

Particularly noticeable was improper use of funds for projects related to the reconstruction of areas damaged by the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and anti-disaster measures. The following are some examples.

The land and infrastructure ministry has spent some ¥441 billion from fiscal 2011 on projects to induce residents in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures hit by the 3/11 disasters to move from the coast to highland areas. But so far, only 13 of the 55 such residential development projects scheduled to be finished by the end of 2013 have been completed.

The delay has forced many residents to abandon their plans to move to the new housing areas, thereby sharply reducing demand for the land plots completed or under development. The Board of Audit called on the ministry to give advice to municipalities concerned, including information on downsizing the projects.

Another example involved the incinerated waste of materials that had been exposed to radiation in the Fukushima nuclear crisis. Such waste is required to be stored in special containers if the concentration of radioactive cesium exceeds 8,000 becquerels per kilogram. But the board found that as of June 2014, seven disposal facilities were keeping it in containers whose service life had expired. And it discovered 11 other facilities that were storing such waste in containers whose service life was unknown. The Environment Ministry insists that the use of containers whose service life has expired would not pose safety problems, but further checks will be necessary.

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