Japan might need $100b for reconstruction

Updated: 2011-04-19 08:53

By Fu Jing (China Daily)

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Official says China ready to provide aid to its neighbor

BRUSSELs - Japan will listen to the world regarding rebuilding initiatives and funding resources for nuclear-stricken regions, said a top Japanese diplomat in Europe.

Japanese Ambassador of Political Affairs to the EU Norio Maruyama said Tokyo is open to "all proposals and ideas" on rebuilding regions impacted by the disaster, and these are good opportunities for the EU and other countries to improve their traditional partnerships with the country.

Fabrice Vareille, head of the Political and Economic Section of the EU Delegation to Japan, said both sides are likely to continue their ties by signing another 10-year cooperation framework and starting free trade agreement negotiation.

It is estimated Japan now needs at least $100 billion for reconstruction, an increasingly important issue on Japan's post-disaster agenda. To relocate victims displaced by the earthquake and tsunami, the Japanese government will allow foreign companies to build temporary housing to speed up reconstruction efforts, according to NHK.

The Land and Infrastructure Ministry said last weekend it has already received inquiries from housing construction companies in several countries, including China, Italy, South Korea and the United States.

"China and Japan have been in contact with each other ever since the relief work started, and we are still looking at more ways to help them," an official from the Foreign Ministry told China Daily, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

The official said the Chinese government is ready to provide relevant aid to its neighbor. The Chinese government sent Japan the first of a series of relief materials on March 14, three days after the massive earthquake and tsunami hit Japan. On Sunday, Japan and the US announced a partnership involving businesses to help spearhead reconstruction.

Most Japanese want a new prime minister to lead the massive rebuilding effort, newspaper polls showed on Monday, as the head of government was again scolded in parliament for his handling of the disaster.

According to Reuters, nearly 70 percent of people surveyed by the Nikkei Business Daily said Prime Minister Naoto Kan should be replaced, and a similar number said the government's response to the nuclear crisis was not acceptable.

More than half of the people surveyed by the newspaper want the ruling party DPJ to team up with the opposition LDP, and another poll in the Mainichi Shimbun showed a similar result.

Analysts, however, say that Kan, who took office last June as Japan's fifth leader since 2006, is unlikely to resign readily, while opposition parties could be criticized if they try to take disaster budgets hostage in a political battle, according to Reuters.

"Japan will formulate its reconstruction plan and, based upon the plan, we would like to cooperate with the US and other countries in the world so that we can proceed rapidly," AFP quoted Japanese Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto as saying.

Ai Yang and Wang Chenyan contributed to this story.

China Daily


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