The number of local governments that agreed to accept debris created by the Great East Japan Earthquake in Miyagi and Iwate prefectures has fallen to less than 10 percent of the number released in April, according to a survey released by the Environment Ministry on Wednesday.
The plunge is apparently due to radiation fears.
Fifty-four municipalities and federations of cities and villages that perform selective functions such as waste disposal and firefighting said they would accept debris, the ministry said.
If the 20 million tons of debris from both prefectures cannot be disposed of, reconstruction plans for the disaster-hit areas are likely to be adversely affected, observers said.
The ministry also did not release the names of municipalities that agreed to accept waste. "If we release names, some municipalities will likely receive complaints from citizens, which may hinder their ability to accept debris," a ministry official said.
"Under the current circumstances, it will be difficult to reach our goal of disposing of all debris in three years," the ministry official said.