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Since the Great East Japan Earthquake, there has been no prospect of recovery and the direction of reconstruction efforts has been shifting aimlessly. With regard to recovery and reconstruction efforts, this paper proposes that true town reconstruction can be achieved through an environmental approach.
The most important point is to introduce environmental technologies that are a well-balanced mix of high and low technologies, as well as to take advantage of the local environment including nature and culture. This requires incorporation of a mechanism that is not temporary, but one that is sustainable. Also, it is important that the idea of creating not only environmental value, but also social and economic value is incorporated into town reconstruction efforts in the Tohoku region and responses to the nuclear plant accident which require actions nationwide.
More specifically, recovery efforts should regard contamination removal, the disposal of debris, and the securing of local electricity sources as main issues, whereas reconstruction activities should be focused on the realization of a low-carbon society, the formation of a recycling-oriented economy, and biodiversity protection. It is considered that such an environmental approach to town building can increase not only environmental value, but also social value as reflected in safe, secure towns and stable employment and economic value as reflected in progress in the agricultural, forestry, and fishing industry and income growth.
It is also necessary to resolve nationwide long-term issues such as reduced electricity supply and the removal of radioactive substances which stem from the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. The earthquake disaster has put constraints on resources like energy, materials, and food. It is crucial to turn this event into an opportunity, take maximal advantage of the positive character traditionally possessed by the Japanese, including the tendency to cherish things, and conduct recyclingoriented life and town building.