Thursday, July 21, 2011

We Need to Speed up the Cleanup

There's no time for delays. Get the four opposition parties' disaster waste management bill approved quickly! The Kan administration needs to accept the LDP- and Komeito-led bill.

We need to speed up the cleanup. It has been more than four months since the East Japan earthquake and tsunami, yet disaster waste management is not progressing. The waste and downed trees are a hazard in this hot summer. It's not just about the stench. As the waste ferments, the temperature will rise. There's the danger of fires. We need to clean up this mess as quickly as possible, but the Kan administration has been slow to act.

This clean up is not about ruling or opposition parties. It's something all parties should cooperate on. The Democratic Party of Japan should accept the bill put forth by the four opposition parties, led by the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito.

The points of the opposition bill are: 1) The nation should act as a proxy for damaged municipalities when those municipalities request it, and 2) the country should assist in paying for processing the waste, maintaining facilities and managing the project (according to a report in the Komeito newspaper on July 10).

If the nation doesn't act as a proxy in this cleanup, it won't progress. With the nation's support, the cleanup could proceed promptly.

If the ruling and opposition parties can negotiate an agreement, a quick, thorough cleanup of debris is possible.

I'm counting on a courageous decision by Tatsuo Hirano, the minister in charge of disaster prevention, and Tsuyoshi Yamaguchi, the senior vice minister.

Originally published in Japanese on July 13, 2011.