There was outrage across Japan yesterday as it emerged that a quarter of the 11.7 trillion yen (£90 billion) Fukushima reconstruction fund has been spent on unrelated projects.
Another half of the total funding - earmarked to help the area recover after a March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and meltdown at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant - has not been allocated at all.
And local officials said reconstruction efforts had hardly begun.
Money intended for rebuilding the affected provinces Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima had instead been spent on a wide variety of totally unconnected enterprises while 325,000 of 340,000 displaced residents remained "homeless or away from their homes" according to the government's own figures.
The funds had been spent on renovating government offices in Tokyo, an air force fighter-pilot training scheme and even whaling - 2.3bn yen (£18 million) was given to the Fisheries Ministry for "countermeasures against the Sea Shepherd anti-whaling group."
And anti-nuclear activists were aghast that 10.7bn yen (£85m) had been handed to a nuclear power research organisation to study nuclear fusion.
Officials in towns wrecked by the triple disaster said real rehabilitation projects had yet to get off the ground.
Takashi Kubota, deputy mayor of the fishing town of Rikuzentakata where 1,800 people were killed or went missing and 4,000 homes were destroyed, said: "In 19 months there have been no major changes. There is not one single new building yet."
Government adviser Jun Iio said the government needed to allow affected areas to decide how to spend their money rather than trying to allocate it centrally.
"The government thinks it has to be in the driver's seat," he said. "Unfortunately only if the local residents can agree on a plan will they move ahead."
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda admitted that "the government has not done enough and has not done it adequately" and pledged to "strictly wring out" unrelated projects from the budget.
But critics said the reconstruction fund's vague remit left it open to abuse, as it authorised spending on ambiguous schemes such as "supporting employment measures."
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