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Economy

Nearly 20% of Japan's quake recovery funds still sit idle

Six years on, communities struggle to start projects worth nearly $5bn

The tsunami cleanup effort gets underway in Natori, Miyagi Prefecture, in May 2011. (Photo by Akiyoshi Inoue)

TOKYO -- Almost $5 billion in funds earmarked for rebuilding Japan's disaster-stricken northeast remain unused, with projects entangled in local debates and nuts-and-bolts complications, a Nikkei study has found.

The Nikkei compiled government survey data and determined that -- six years after an earthquake and tsunami ripped through the region -- reconstruction projects worth 534.6 billion yen ($4.85 billion) have not started, in the absence of contracts for them. That equates to 19% of all allocations for rebuilding in three prefectures: Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima.

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