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Japan – Population falling in disaster-hit areas

Monday, March 12, 2012

Municipalities along the coastlines in northeastern Japan devastated by the disaster last March need more assistance from the central government to stop the outflow of population.

Memorial services were held on Sunday across the country to mark the first anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami in which 18,945 people died or remain missing.

Over 300 communities in 27 municipalities along the coast in the disaster-hit areas are planning to relocate houses and buildings to higher ground or inland areas.

But residents in most communities have yet to agree on the plans. Many people have already moved away as the value of the flooded land has not yet been determined.

The population has fallen since the disaster in 35 municipalities along the coastlines in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima Prefectures, with the exception of Sendai City and Rifu Town in Miyagi.

The municipalities are concerned that the population outflow could threaten their existence and hamper reconstruction efforts, if it continues.