It's sadly predictable, but still sad, that the spate of articles anticipating the 2-year anniversary of the March 2011 earthquake/tsunami can provide little more than a litany of bureacratic failure, despondency and stagnation.
Of course, rebuilding these economically nonviable retirement communities in the middle of nowhere was never a sensible solution, but it's a shame that no-one has managed to provide, assume, or assert sufficient leadership to actually drag the relevant parties towards sensible solutions. The emergency housing, which was initially designed for (and legally limited to) up to a year of use is now apparently going to be in operation for up to 10 years, or more prosaically, until sufficient numbers of its aging residents die out.
Of course, this is on top of the Fukushima problem, which isn't actually going away. Even though it's not causing any major health problems, it's still costing a lot of money.
There are a couple of bright spots, where some fishermen are setting up local cooperatives. But I think they were struggling to find local labour even before the tsunami, with school-leavers heading off to seek their fortunes in the cities.
Meanwhile, elsewhere around the country, the govt is throwing money at the construction industry like it's got a printing press at home. Oh, it does. For example, the minor road running past our institute is getting a brand new pedestrian overpass, all gleaming white paint and about a 200m detour zig-zagging up and down the bicycle-friendly sloped approaches, all to cross a 4m-narrow strip of barely-used tarmac. Meanwhile, we have a 5-10% pay cut imposed on us for the next 2 years, in order to apologise for our role in causing the disaster and to help pay for the non-existent reconstruction program in Tohoku (even though we are not govt employees), all while the govt is urging companies to increase salaries.