One month after the devastating earthquake and tsunami, the Japanese Prime Minister, Naoto Kan, has visited the region to offer his support and promised to help rebuild the local fishing industry.
But it is thought he is there for another reason too – to bolster support for his Democratic Party in the local elections on Sunday.
Kan’s handling of the crisis has been criticised and is expected to lose his party votes.
Over 20,000 soldiers, 90 planes and 50 boats were mobilized on Sunday in the continuing search for over 14,000 bodies still missing.
Meanwhile thousands of people who lived in the exclusion zone around the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant still have homes but are not allowed to live in them. They have been permitted back briefly, to collect belongings.
One resident said:
“I hope that they can solve the nuclear problem as soon as possible, and while I don’t know how many years it will be until we can come back, I want them to make it so we can return.”
But that may not be for some considerable time yet. Experts say the crisis could last for months as engineers struggle to control the damaged reactors.
Ironically that may help Prime Minister Kan. Analysts say he is unlikely to be forced out while the nuclear crisis is still going on.