Japan quake caused $210 billion in property damage

The 16.9 trillion yen bill estimate by the Cabinet office also excludes other costs such as compensation payments for disaster victims and evacuees.

The figure includes structural damage to the Fukushima Daiichi atomic plant and other nuclear facilities but not costs resulting from radiation leaks such as the impacts on sectors such as agriculture, fisheries and tourism.

The massive seismic disaster, which ravaged Japan's northeast and left nearly 23,000 people dead or missing, destroyed houses, shops, office buildings and factories worth about 10.4 trillion yen, the Cabinet office estimated.

The damage to water, gas, electricity and communication networks and facilities came to about 1.3 trillion yen, said the estimate, based on a tally of losses reported by affected prefectures and government ministries.

Other destroyed infrastructure -- including river banks, roads, ports and sewerage systems -- and assets of the farming, forestry and fisheries sectors, were worth about 5.2 trillion yen, it said.

The total estimate far exceeds the 9.6-trillion-yen damage bill estimated as a result of the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake, which devastated the western port city of Kobe and claimed more than 6,400 lives.

Japan's centre-left Prime Minister Naoto Kan plans to name a new state minister in charge of reconstructing disaster areas early next week, said his spokesman Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano.

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