Three years after the Great East Japan Earthquake in terms of money

The rebuilding budget was compiled to help communities get back on their feet from an unprecedented natural disaster.
The huge amount of public funds gathered through tax hikes was supposed to go to disaster-stricken areas.
Has the money been used skillfully by the local governments affected by the disaster?
We take a look at the three years after the major disaster in terms of how the money was used for housing, jobs and industry. We recommend using the latest browser version.
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Is the huge amount of money actually being used?

3.9035 trillion yen

Total amount of funds for three disaster-stricken prefectural governments and municipal authorities there (Final accounting for fiscal 2012)
As a result of the huge rebuilding budget provided by the central government, the outstanding balance in the funds of the local governments most affected by the disaster increased dramatically. While there were many major projects not completed in a single fiscal year, there also began emerging a delay in projects because of unsuccessful bidding. There was a noticeable increase in the funds of local governments situated along coastal areas where damage was large.View mapview map

Fiscal 2010
241.74948 billion yen
Fiscal 2011
533.34558 billion yen
Fiscal 2012
887.83076 billion yen
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Outstanding
balance of fund
10 billion yen

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3.9035 trillion yen click

Are the rebuilding plans progressing?

51%

The ratio of the rebuilding tax grants distributed to the three disaster-stricken prefectures for which project contracts have been signed (August 2013 study by Reconstruction Agency) There are some regions where less than half of rebuilding tax grants has been used. While requiring consent of local residents was an initial hurdle, more recently there has been a change to unsuccessful bidding on projects because of rapid increases in the cost of materials.View mapview map

Only studies have been conducted for rebuilding workmovie

Work is finally progressing along the coastal areas of Fukushima [...] read »

Progress in contract signings for tax grant projects
(August 2013 study by Reconstruction Agency)

29.923 billion yen*1(85.091 billion yen*2
190.052 billion yen*1(308.728 billion yen*2
68.466 billion yen*1(172.974 billion yen*2)
35%
62%
40%
  • Amount of signed contracts
  • Total tax grants
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Progress in contract signings
for tax grant projects
0%More than 100%

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Do local government offices have enough workers?

16-fold increase

In the town of Otsuchi, the amount of government spending finalized per local government worker had increased by 16-fold in fiscal 2012 in comparison to fiscal 2010 before the natural disasters.
As an estimate of the work load of local government workers in the disaster-stricken areas, the average amount of spending finalized per worker was calculated. Many of the local governments struck by the natural disasters were small in size with only a few government workers. Although such governments received huge rebuilding budgets, the lack of workers meant many projects were left untouched. That led to the ballooning of the outstanding balance of the funds at local governments.View mapview map

In Otsuchi, 35 of 45 government workers were outside helpPhoto

The Otsuchi town government building where many workers perished

The Otsuchi town government in Iwate Prefecture now has 247 workers, close to double the number before the natural disasters. However, close to half of that number, or 122, are workers from other local governments or the private sector who were dispatched to provide support or temporary help hired for specific periods. [...] read »

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100% The rate of increase in the amount of government
spending finalized per local government worker

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The disaster-stricken areas today

Various projects have been started in the municipalities hit by the natural disasters.
How has the rebuilding budget changed people’s lives over the past three years?

(Caption: A farmer in Sendai’s Wakabayashi Ward harvests rice in September 2011
from a field that had suffered from salt damage due to the tsunami.

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How much progress has been in housing?

3%

The ratio of housing units available for occupancy among the public housing for disaster victims planned in all three disaster-stricken prefectures (Figures are for January 2014 in Fukushima and Miyagi and for February 2014 in Iwate)View mapview map

Delays in housing due to lack of materials, mismatch in need and supplyphotomovie

Although there were great expectations for public housing for disaster victims, there has been a delay in residents actually entering the housing units [...] read »

Degree of completion of disaster-related housing

146*3(7,583*4
322*3(15,608*4
467*3(6,038*4
2%*1

98%*2

2%*1

98%*2

8%*1

92%*2

  • Start of residents moving in after construction work completed
  • Still under design or construction
  • Units available for occupancy
  • Planned number of units
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Degree of completion of
public disaster-related housing
0%100%

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Are those people unable to work being looked after?

970 people

The increase in the number of individuals receiving social welfare in Sendai from February 2011 until December 2013 There has been a decrease in those on social welfare rolls in municipalities where public donations were distributed due to the heavy damage. However, the number has increased in Sendai due to an influx of new residents.View mapview map

Those on social welfare increases in Sendai, decreases in coastal areasphotomovie

Of the 18 regions in Miyagi Prefecture overseen by social welfare offices [...] read »

Money distributed for social welfare by local governments in coastal areas and further inland in the three disaster-stricken prefectures

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Number of people in Miyagi Prefecture receiving social welfare
(Difference between February 2011 and December 2012)

Number of people  Not disclosed  Disclosed -1,000 people1,000 people

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What is the physical state of damaged towns and their residents?

7%

Ratio of property tax revenues in fiscal 2012 for Namie, Fukushima Prefecture, with figure for fiscal 2010 as base of 100 The situation continues of no recovery in tax revenues, mainly among those municipalities that suffered tsunami damage. In particular, there has been a severe decrease in property tax revenues, which is a core element of municipal revenues. In Fukushima Prefecture, in addition to municipalities along the coastal area that were damaged by the tsunami, there are also many municipalities where the appraisal value of land and buildings have been negatively affected by radiation contamination. On the other hand, the long period of living as an evacuee has also weakened the physical condition of many senior citizens. That has led to an increase in payment of elderly care benefits in communities along the disaster-stricken coastal areas.View mapview map

Outlays of nursing care benefits
(coastal municipalities in three prefectures)

Aging residentsmovie

As of Feb. 13, 2014[...] read »

Declining populationmovie

One lesson learned [...] read »

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Changes in property tax (With figure for 2010 as base of 100)
More than 100%0

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How to revive rice fields and fishing ports

53.82381 billion yen

Money for farming and fisheries contained in rebuilding budget (Total finalized amount for fiscal 2011 and 2012 for municipalities in three disaster-stricken prefectures)
Miyagi Prefecture had an increase in agriculture expenditures in fiscal 2012. Ishinomaki city constructed the latest rice drying and storage facility and is pushing to revive its community through larger farms.View mapview map

Advanced facility emerges amid rice fields in Ishinomakiphotomovie

The rice drying and storage facility constructed in Ishinomaki using rebuilding tax grants

In Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, 1,800 hectares of rice paddies were damaged by the natural disasters In its fiscal 2012 budget, 1.1 billion yen was set aside to revive farming. Using rebuilding tax grants, a rice drying and storage facility was constructed. The city had the fourth largest amount in Miyagi Prefecture set aside by a municipality for farming expenditures targeted at rebuilding. It is also seeking to revitalize farm land by consolidating plots into larger farms. [...] read »

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Farming
expenditures
Fisheries
expenditures

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【動画】東北大・佐々木伯朗准教授(財政学)の話

More money than expected went unspent

The increase in the outstanding balance of funds among the disaster-stricken local governments reflects the situation of not being able to completely use subsidies received from the central government. [...] read »

【動画】被災地NGO恊働センターの村井雅清代表

More money than expected went unspent

From our experience providing support to disaster victims of the Great Hanshin Earthquake in the form of temporary housing [...] read »

【動画】谷公一・復興副大臣の話 

Support needed even after the concentrated rebuilding period ends

In comparison to after the Great Hanshin Earthquake, rebuilding has taken more time for the Great East Japan Earthquake [...] read »