Japan mulls tsunami lessons for reconstruction

Constructing taller buildings and moving towns to higher ground may be the key to rebuilding Japan’s devastated northeast coast, experts say, as the threat of future tsunamis shapes ideas for reconstruction.

It was the monster wall of water, rather than March 11 magnitude 9.0 earthquake that spawned it, which tore through towns, destroying 300,000 homes and leaving 26,000 dead and missing.

"What we agreed with Prime Minister Naoto Kan is that it is not simply enough to restore things as they were before," said Makoto Iokibe, chairman of the Council of Reconstruction, established by Kan.

The daunting task of removing millions of tonnes of debris from destroyed homes and factories is the starting point for the remodelling of coastal towns in a region with an ageing population and fragile economy.

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