Key visits Japan's tsunami zone
Mon, 10 Sep 2012 4:36p.m.
By Political Editor Duncan Garner in Sendai, Japan
Prime Minister John Key has visited Shobutahama Beach in Japan's Sendai region where almost 10,000 people died following the tsunami in March last year.
Mr Key is on a trip to mark 60 years of diplomatic relations with Japan, but wanted to visit Sendai to look at the damage and progress first hand – and to compare it with the clean-up in Christchurch.
“It’s on a scale that is hard to comprehend," he says. "The total cost is nine times what has happened in Christchurch."
Some estimates have put the damage in Sendai at NZD$146 billion. A 10m tsunami hits Shobutahama Beach and went 2km inland.
And while the mess has largely been cleared away, locals are now frustrated at the speed of the rebuild, which Mr Key accepts is a similar sentiment being expressed from Christchurch locals.
Initially 22,000 temporary houses were built for 50,000 displaced citizens in this region, but it has largely been a clean-up effort since then.
Local officials say they fear the struggle ahead and fear their region will be forgotten by the world.
The local authority has put the rebuild timeframe at about 10 years – and Mr Key says that is similar to the rebuild in Christchurch.
“I think there are definitely things we can learn together. We are working with the Japanese government on the structure of our buildings and I know they’re looking closely at what’s coming out of the Royal Commission.”
“It’s very sad that two countries who are great friends suffered such tragedy relative to our populations within about a month of each other.”
Mr Key heads back to Tokyo tonight for a series of tourism and political meetings.
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10/09/2012 9:52:50 p.m.
Iain Morrison wrote:
He would have been much better serving Kiwis if he had visited TAIJI, today as two large pods of Bottlenose Dolphins were captured and slaughtered by the Japanese fisherman in The Cove.
Yesterday a pod of Pilot Whales were also speared to death and butchered for meat.. Sad, Vary very Sad..
The PM can't do anything about the earthquake deaths but he could have today done something about our close Mammals ---Dolphins ?.?
Taiji is only 6 hours away from where he was and could have visited easily.
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