This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

Japan Tunnel Disaster Shows Aging Of Public Works

About a dozen uniformed police were shown on television Tuesday entering the company's headquarters in the central city of Nagoya, toting cardboard and plastic boxes.

"Yes they are searching our offices here. We will be fully cooperating with them," said Osamu Funahashi, another company official.

The slabs, each weighing 1.4 metric tons (1.54 short tons), fell over a stretch of about 110 meters (120 yards). They had been suspended from the arched roof of the tunnel.

The operator was exploring the possibility that bolts holding a metal piece suspending the panels above the road had weakened with age. The panels, measuring about 5 meters (16 feet) by 1.2 meters (4 feet), and 8 centimeters (3 inches) thick, were installed when the 4.7-kilometer-long (3-mile-long) tunnel was built.

Recovery work in the tunnel about 80 kilometers (50 miles) west of Tokyo halted Monday to allow reinforcement of the roof to prevent more collapses, said Jun Goto, an official at the Fire and Disaster Management Agency.

By Tuesday, crews were removing the concrete slabs from the tunnel, said Goto, who added that authorities do not expect to find any more victims inside.

Spending on public works once was the lifeblood of the conservative Liberal Democratic Party, which has ruled Japan for most of the decades since in World War II, though it was ousted by the Democratic Party of Japan in 2009.

The government created huge oceanside reclamation projects, bullet train lines and other vital infrastructure, as well as notorious "bridges to nowhere."

Political reforms beginning in the early 2000s focused on cutting spending on public works, but they failed to differentiate between projects that contributed to efficiency and competitiveness and those that did not, said Masahiro Matsumura, a politics professor at St. Andrews University in Osaka, Japan.

"Basically, we didn't spend enough on renovating our decaying water pipes, bridges and tunnels. We didn't spend enough on public infrastructure," Matsumura said.

2 of 3

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 17,035.51 -3.98 -0.02%
S&P 500 1,990.02 -2.35 -0.12%
NASDAQ 4,540.9870 +8.8830 0.20%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs