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.
Under the leadership of Governor Yoshihiro Murai, a former JASDF helicopter pilot, the Miyagi Recovery Commission has 12 members, only 2 of whom are residents of Miyagi. It is a commission of experts drawn from all over Japan, including former University of Tokyo President Hiroshi Komiyama and Japan Research Institute President Jitsuro Terashima. The Miyagi commission's first meeting was held in its capitol, Sendai, with no subordinate staff. The next meeting in June will be held in Tokyo.
Even before its first formal meeting, the Miyagi commission floated plans for rebuilding much of its coastline as a ria coast. Their residential areas would be moved to higher ground and disaster prevention parks built in low-lying areas to block creep back into these areas. Governor Murai is locking horns with the powerful Japan Fisheries fishermen's cooperative by calling on them to give up their monopoly on fish farming licenses and allow corporate fish farms into their waters. Miyagi has announced that it will focus its recovery efforts on the 27 harbors it manages directly and leave the other 115 municipally managed harbors to later with the intent of eventually consolidating to fewer than a third of the current number.
In contrast, lead by Governor Takuya Tasso, a former official in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, all of the 19 members of the Iwate Recovery Commission reside within the prefecture. Strictly local, these members are drawn from the prefecture's municipalities, chamber of commerce, agricultural cooperative, fishing cooperative and banking association. The Iwate commission's meetings are all held in its capitol, Morioka, with a full complement of staff (below). .
Both commissions make all materials available at their websites and the Iwate commission broadcasts meetings over USTREAM.
Both Iwate and Miyagi also published their draft reconstruction policies in English, Iwate: http://www.pref.iwate.jp/view.rbz?cd=32121, Miyagi: http://www.pref.miyagi.jp/kokusai/en/BDR_policy_draft.htm.
More sharply differing side-by-side approaches may be hard to find. The staff from the two prefectures are already criticizing each other anonymously. Miyagi staff claims that it will be hard for Iwate to come up with anything innovative. Iwate staff questions Miyagi's ability to implement commission recommendations.
Yomiuri Shimbun, Web Edition, 2011 April 25, URL: http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/feature/20110316-866918/news/20110425-OYT1T00735.htm
Kahoku Online Network, 2011 May 18, http://www.kahoku.co.jp/news/2011/05/20110518t11019.htm
Kahoku Online Network, 2011 May 17, http://www.kahoku.co.jp/news/2011/05/20110517t11016.htm
Iwate Recovery Commission, http://www.pref.iwate.jp/~hp0212/fukkou_net/iinkai.html
Miyagi Recovery Commission, http://www.pref.miyagi.jp/seisaku/index.htm