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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 March 1 - 7  > Public worker shortage preventing recovery from 2011 disaster
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2017 March 1 - 7 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Public worker shortage preventing recovery from 2011 disaster

March 7, 2017
Almost six years after the massive earthquake and tsunami devastated the Tohoku region, disaster-affected municipalities are still in desperate need of workers to engage in reconstruction efforts, calling for an additional 228 employees.

Akahata on March 7 reported that 44 disaster-hit municipalities need a total of 2,699 workers to concentrate on jobs to help victims, rebuild public facilities, and conduct other recovery-related work. These local authorities managed to get only 2,471 workers as of February 1 by hiring fixed-term employees and temporarily accepting staff from other municipalities both inside and outside Tohoku.

These struggling municipalities need another 134 technical employees, mainly those specializing in engineering, as well as additional 94 general employees for clerical work.

For example, Miyagi’s Kesen’numa City suffered severe damage six years ago and is still repairing and improving roads, harbor, and other essential infrastructure. The city needs an additional 42 workers, mainly technical experts.

The local governments in Tohoku are suffering from labor shortages because municipalities across Japan have difficulties in sparing staff members to help other municipalities due to the downsizing of the workforce under the name of administrative reform. In addition, it is also because the memory of the 2011 disaster is gradually fading away, Akahata pointed out. A local government official in Tohoku says that public workers are in short supply in the disaster-hit areas but that this situation is not known to the general public.
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