Japan premier visits devastated fishing town

Other News Materials 10 April 2011 21:36 (UTC +04:00)

Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan on Sunday paid a brief visit to a fishing port hit hard by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami and promised his government would build 70,000 temporary homes, dpa reported.

Kan told Ishinomaki's mayor and other local officials that the dwellings would be made available to the area's numerous homeless, Kyodo News reported.

"I felt a considerable amount of energy will be necessary for the reconstruction. I saw progress, in part, of work to remove rubble but restoration of lifelines has been insufficient," Kyodo quoted Kan as saying.Kan also stopped by a base of the Self-Defence Forces in Higashi Matsushima City and encouraged members involved in relief activities.

The region was ravaged by the magnitude-9 earthquake and ensuing tsunami.Kan's visit, however, did not please all of the locals.Toshiyuki Sasaki, a 60-year-old man staying at a local shelter, complained that the premier had shortened his visit to just 10 minutes.

"I had something to tell him, but did not even have a chance to see him," Sasaki was quoted by Kyodo as saying.A woman said that while she appreciated his visit, it did not change a situation whereby "we cannot take a bath or return home."

The official death toll from the March 11 disaster stood at 13,013 Sunday, with 14,608 people listed as missing, Japan's National Police Agency said.During his visit, the premier also expressed his appreciation for the US military's help in relief operations.

Japanese and United States military troops took part in a joint search for people missing from the coastal areas of the region and were able to recover 90 bodies.About 21,900 Japanese troops and 110 US military were engaged in the search, which also saw the deployment of some 90 airplanes and 50 vessels, Kyodo reported.