3rd Supplementary Budget Measures for SMEs

2011 December 26, Tsukuba Center Inc., Tsukuba

This post contains notes of a briefing seminar held for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) regarding measures contained in Japan's 3rd supplementary budget for recovery from the 3/11 Tohoku earthquake.

The National Federation of Small Business Associations (http://www.chuokai.or.jp/) is administering the programs described below. The deadline for applying for all programs is 20 January 2012.


Railway tracks may become exclusive bus lanes


The East Japan Railway Co. is considering building highways exclusively for buses on out-of-use sections of three railway lines in the Tohoku region where tracks and stations were washed away in the March 11 tsunami, it has been learned.


Reconstruction Minister Blasts Tohoku Official — for ‘Bad Manners’

Update: 2011-7-6: Matsumoto resigned

New Reconstruction Minister Ryu Matsumoto lost his temper when Miyagi Governor Murai kept him waiting for a meeting, then blasted the Governor for his lack of manners and failing to remember his military training, and finally threatened to destroy any media company that reported his outburst.


Naming disasters and emotional ownership

In an earlier post, "Whose disaster is it, anyway?", I argue that emotional ownership is important for victims of a disaster to recover from that disaster. A translator, who works for the Prime Minister's office, argues that simply calling it "the 3/11 disaster" is good enough.

  • Translator: In our translations we use "the 3/11 disaster," etc
  • Me: Okay globally. Emotional ownership first to Tohoku, second to Japan, third to globe.
  • Translator: No, not global ownership issues; the term that will be used most around the globe. Globally speaking, it'll end up being "the 2011 Japan quake," like 2004 Indonesia, 2010 Chile.
  • Me: The Kan administration's first and most lasting contribution?
  • Translator: We did lots of translation for the Kantei; convinced them to abandon "Tohoku -off the Pacific" [sic]. I just don't think the question of labeling/linguistic ownership is a vital one here.


Japan’s strength from Tohoku's outlaw past

The Economist's recent outstanding article, about the strength of Japan's regions nicely focuses on the pressure points for change.

While the article states that Tohoku's tight-knit, independent streak dates back centuries, one can add Tohoku's outlaw status stemming out of Japan's Sengoku Period of the 16th and 17th centuries.


Tochigi Pref to donate 1 million strawberry plants to Miyagi farmers

Tochigi Prefecture, Japan's largest producer of strawberries, will donate 1 million strawberry plants to farmers in Miyagi Prefecture's Watari and Yamamoto towns. More than 90% of the 98 hectares of cultivated land in these towns were ravaged by the 11 March tsunami.


[Cabinet Recovery Commission] A Top-Down Vision: Building Anew Out of Tsunami's Rubble

In Yoree Koh's article in the Wall Street Journal, architect Tadao Ando, a member of the Cabinet Recovery Commission, presents his view of how Tohoku's ravaged coast should be rebuilt.

Mr. Ando is taking upon himself the task of designing a rebuilt Tohoku. The vision is grand but omits a key component: the input of the people of Tohoku. Mr. Ando is acting as if a doctor diagnosing and prescribing for a patient.

Curiously, the article makes no mention of Miyagi Prefecture's competing vision, which is further along in its development. It also makes no mention of Iwate Prefecture's bottom up approach.

Mr. Ando, like others, wants to write his views on Tohoku. Does Tohoku want to be written on?


Yoree Koh, "Building Anew Out of Tsunami's Rubble," Wall Street Journal - Asia, 2011/6/6, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304906004576366643979766836.html (accessed 2011/6/6)


Miyagi Governor Murai proposes deregulation in 8 areas

In a Sunday meeting of the Cabinet Recovery Commission on 29 May, Miyagi Prefecture Governor Yoshihiro Murai proposed an "East Japan Recovery Zone." The proposal calls for a 10-year period of tax breaks and national support in eight areas including town and city building, agriculture and seafood industries, and medicine.


[Fish farming new tech] DNA bar coding for fish

"Scientists aiming their gene sequencers at commercial seafood are discovering rampant labeling fraud in supermarket coolers and restaurant tables: cheap fish is often substituted for expensive fillets, and overfished species are passed off as fish whose numbers are plentiful."

The article is about European and North American markets, but this technology should affect the vitality of Japanese fish farms and seafood processors.


Damage to Ibaraki Prefecture public facilities: JPY 133 billion ($ 1.64 Billion)

The Great East Japan Earthquake damaged 1587 prefecture government facilities and caused JPY 133.2 billion ($1.64 billion) in damages. This total is only for prefecture facilities and does not include damage to national and municipal facilities.

The largest single category was fishing harbors: 16 harbors received JPY 42.5 billion in damage. Another 209 cases of harbor damage total JPY 32.9 billion, and 223 cases of damage to rivers total JPY 15.6 billion.

The Ibaraki Shimbun, online edition, 2011/5/26, (ja), http://www.ibaraki-np.co.jp/news/news.php?f_jun=13063342937913 (accessed 2011/5/26)


Sendai City initial recovery plan calls for building up highways to make double seawall

Almost a month after Miyagi Prefecture released initial reconstruction plans for its other coastal municipalities, Sendai City released its initial concept and began hearings.

Sendai's "Recovery Vision" calls for moving about 2,600 families away from the coast into new municipal development zones. A double seawall system will replace them. A traditional seawall on the oceanfront will be backed by forested barriers laced with drainage canals. Behind them, two existing major highways will be built up into seawalls using rubble left by the earthquake and tsunami. Farmland will take up the space between these highway-cum-seawalls.

Fukushima recovery headquarters set up more than 2 months after disaster

Hit by a triple punch, earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster, Fukushima Prefecture's recovery headquarters got underway yesterday, 20 May, more than two months after the earthquake and tsunami.


Sea Shepherd activist returns to Otsuchi

Assisted after the tsunami by local Japanese, many of whose homes and livelihoods had been washed away, anti-whaling activist Scott West from Sea Shepherd returned in May to Otsuchi in Iwate Prefecture to further photograph the destruction.

Watari to recruit personnel experienced in Hanshin recovery

Consistent with Miyagi Prefecture's seeking recovery expertise from all over Japan, Watari has announced that it will recruit personnel from Hyogo Prefecture who experienced recovery efforts after the Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake of 1995. The intent is to hire this person or persons under Japan's traditional seconding practices.

Source: Kahoku Online Network, 2011/5/21, http://www.kahoku.co.jp/news/2011/05/20110521t11027.htm


Miyagi and Iwate recovery commissions - radically different planning models

Miyagi and Iwate Prefectures are next door neighbors in Tohoku and were both severely damaged by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Including Fukushima Prefecture to the south, the coastline of the three hardest hit prefectures is home to 270 fishing harbors. All were devastated by the tsunami. To rebuild their coastlines, both prefectures created recovery commissions, but of radically different nature and operation.


[Miyagi Recovery Commission] 27 fishing harbors managed by prefecture to continue

Miyagi Prefecture will focus its recovery efforts on 27 fishing harbors managed by the prefecture. The rest of the 142 locally managed fishing harbors are expected to shrink to fewer than a third.



Basic census data for Tohoku cities & towns

Below is a table of basic statistics for cities and towns along the coast starting with Higashidori at the northeast corner of Aomori Prefecture and running to Tateyama at the southern tip of Chiba Prefecture. The listing is in geographical order north to south.

The main spreadsheet is at Google Docs.

Cities and towns on the coast are highlighted with light blue.

Compiled from http://www.e-stat.go.jp/SG1/estat/eStatTopPortal.do


[Miyagi Recovery Commission] Ria Coasts in Miyagi Reconstruction Proposal

The Yomiuri Shimbun* reports that fourteen municipalities in Miyagi Prefecture, jointly unveiled a reconstruction proposal that combines three kinds of redevelopment: flat land, urban and ria coast.


Mobility Robot Forum in Tsukuba

Note: Post moved to http://north-kanto-notes.blogspot.com/2011/12/mobility-robot-forum-in-tsukuba.html on 2 December 2011.

Ibaraki and Tohoku

One day last Summer, my Kansai-raised wife, 11-year-old son and I bicycled past a road crew in Tsukuba. My wife could not understand their conversation; my son did. Why? The crew was speaking Tohoku dialect, which my son heard spoken daily by classmates and teachers, but which my wife and I did not normally encounter.

While Ibaraki Prefecture is administratively part of Kanto, most of it is linguistically and culturally part of Tohoku. For a linguistic comparison of Ibaraki and its surroundings, see http://www1.tmtv.ne.jp/~kadoya-sogo/ibaraki15-map.html.


[Miyagi Recovery Commission] Parallel panel set up by Miyagi Prefecture

Source: Kahoku Online Network, http://www.kahoku.co.jp/news/2011/04/20110410t11041.htm, Viewed 2011 April 10

Miyagi Prefecture's Governor Yoshihiro Murai has set up a recovery panel that, at least initially, competes with Prime Minister Naoto Kan's Recovery Commission. For now I will call this parallel panel the Murai-Komiyama Recovery Panel. It's tentative Japanese name is "Shinsai Fukko Keikaku Sakutei Konwakai" (震災復興計画策定懇話会).

[Cabinet Recovery Commission] Japanese media reactions

These are summaries of Japanese media reactions to Prime Minister Kan's Recovery Commission (復興構想会議).

[Cabinet Recovery Commission] Recovery commission launch 2011 April 11

Precisely one month after the Great Tohoku Earthquake, Prime Minister Naoto Kan is set to launch his Cabinet Recovery Commission (復興構想会議). 
Note:Updated 2011 April 11 based on http://www.asahi.com/politics/update/0411/TKY201104110301.html.

IOKIBE Makoto, Chair

President, National Defense Academy Age: 68, Good ties to Former PM Fukuda & LDP, Advised Hanshin Disaster recovery
ANDO Tadao
Architect, Professor Emeritus, University of Tokyo
Professor, University of Tokyo, HistoryAge: 60
UMEHARA Takeshi, Special Advisor
Philosopher, Professor Emeritus, Kyoto City University of ArtsAge: 86
Professor, Gakushuin UniversityAge: 57
ONISHI Takashi
Professor, Urban Engineering, University of Tokyo Graduate SchoolAge: 62
KAWATA Yoshiaki
Director, Research Center for Disaster Reduction Systems, Kyoto UniversityAge: 65
Priest, Rinzaishu Fukushuji Temple
Age: 55
Professor, Sendai UniversityAge: 63, Veteran journalist with The Asahi Shimbun
Vice Chairman, Sony Corporation
Special Editor, Yomiuri Shimbun
Age: 64
SEIKE Atsushi
President, Keio University, Labor Economics
Scriptwriter Akita native, writes monthly "Sendai Dayori" for Yomiuri Shimbun Miyagi Edition. Script credits include Watashi no Aozora, an NHK morning serial drama about an Aomori woman's move to Tokyo and life as single mother.
MURAI Yoshihiro
Governor, Miyagi PrefectureAge: 50, JASDF helicopter pilot
SATO Yuhei
Governor, Fukushima PrefectureAge: 63
TASSO Takuya
Governor, Iwate Prefecture Age: 47, 8 years in Ministry of Foreign Affairs
1) Yomiuri Online, http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/politics/news/20110410-OYT1T00296.htm, (English: http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/T110409003341.htmViewed 2011 April 10
2) MSN/Sankei News, http://sankei.jp.msn.com/politics/news/110407/plc11040723220024-n1.htm, Viewed 2011 April 10


Kenichi Omae on Fukushima, TEPCO, Tohoku Revival

This Japanese video contains several very interesting points. For example, half of this disaster's losses are covered by private insurance policies so the uncovered portion of loss is about the same or less than from Hanshin-Awaji. Omae shows this in a graph from Bloomberg.

Ag product restrictions to be by city & town rather than by prefecture

At his 4 April press conference, Cabinet Secretary Edano announced that restrictions on agricultural products will be restructured to be by city and town rather than by prefecture. Currently, 5 April, shipments from Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi and Gumma Prefectures of spinach and other leafy vegetables are stopped. In Chiba Prefecture, spinach from Katori and Tago, as well as spinach, chrysanthemum greens, celery, parsley and other leafy vegetables from Asahi are stopped.

MAFF, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, has a clickable map of statistics by city, town and prefecture. This will allow us to estimate the economic effect of this change.

The effect on consumer perceptions will be harder to estimate. Consumers often identify foods by prefecture of origin rather than by city or town of origin.


Whose disaster is it, anyway?

The name for the disaster seemed innocuous enough - the Great Kanto Pacific Earthquake of 2011. But the main quakes did not occur in Kanto, the region of Japan centered in Tokyo; they occurred off the coast of Tohoku, Japan’s Northeast. At this writing, there are 28,000 dead or missing in Tohoku versus 58 in Kanto. When the creators of QuakeBook were made aware of the discrepancy, they rewrote, “the Japanese Earthquake at 2:46 on March 11, 2011.” No mention of Tohoku.

Blogging the Tohoku revival

With 28,000 victims dead or missing, and an estimated $235 billion in property damage, the Great East Japan Earthquake is Japan's greatest crisis since World War II. As with all disasters, the first post-disaster priority is rescuing victims and lives. The second is recovering and reconstructing basic infrastructure. The third is economic revival.

This blog will focus on economic revival, the third phase.

I will emphasize practical administration, including administrative bodies, and expenditures. This blog will, of course, not be comprehensive, but merely a collection of facts, reports, backgrounds and opinions.