35 prefectures, cities in Japan positive about taking debris from 2011 earthquake, tsunami

TOKYO - Thirty-five prefectures or major cities in Japan have accepted or are at least leaning toward accepting disaster debris from Iwate and Miyagi prefectures, according to a Yomiuri Shimbun survey.

Removing the millions of tons of debris dumped by the March 11, 2011, earthquake/tsunami disaster is considered critical to helping reconstruction of these hard-hit areas.

The Yomiuri surveyed the governors of 44 prefectural governments and mayors of 18 ordinance-designated cities that the central government has asked to accept debris for disposal. Of them, 35 _ nearly 60 percent_have accepted debris or expressed their intention to accept it.

In addition, 17 local governments, or 27 percent, said they would discuss the matter.

Aomori and Yamagata prefectures and Tokyo have already accepted disaster debris.

The 11 prefectures that have expressed their intention to accept debris are: Hokkaido, Akita, Gunma, Saitama, Tochigi, Chiba, Kanagawa, Shizuoka, Kyoto, Osaka and Oita. The ordinance-designated cities that said they intend to accept debris are Chiba, Kawasaki, Hamamatsu and Osaka.

Of them, 10 prefectures and two cities have set or plan to set independent standards that are stricter than government safety guidelines for radiation levels in debris, which range between 240 and 480 becquerels per kilogram before incineration.

Aichi Prefecture said it had decided to accept debris, and 11 prefectures and five cities _ Saitama, Yokohama, Sagamihara, Niigata and Kyoto _ said they were considering the matter with a view to accepting debris. According to the survey, 10 other prefectures and seven cities were discussing the matter.

The Yomiuri surveyed all prefectural governments, except for disaster-hit Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima, and ordinance-designated cities, except for Sendai and Kumamoto, which received the designation just last Sunday.



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