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Japan tsunami aid spread far and wide

TOKYO, Oct. 31 (UPI) -- Money appropriated to help areas devastated by last year's earthquake and tsunami in Japan is being allocated to other projects, audits show.

A report last week by the independent Board of Audit showed $29 million (2.3 billion yen) to protect whaling vessels from environmentalists and $4.1 million (330 million yen) for repairs to a Tokyo stadium, well out of the earthquake zone. The board said $239 million in earthquake reconstruction funds has not been spent.

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In the meantime, Iwate prefecture officials reported getting applications for reconstruction aid totaling $320 million. They said they have received only $188 million in aid so far.

Officials in the governing Democratic Party say they were urged by members of the opposition to open up reconstruction aid to projects that would benefit the entire country. As a result, the aid bill says projects that would "reinvigorate Japan" can receive funding.

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