Gov’t boosts aid to dis­as­ter-hit re­gions

More than 100 bil­lion yen is needed to re­pair earth­quake and typhoon dam­age

Viet Nam News - - ASIA -

TOKYO — The Ja­panese gov­ern­ment de­cided yes­ter­day to boost fi­nan­cial aid for re­con­struc­tion work in ar­eas re­cently hit by a pow­er­ful earth­quake and ty­phoons.

Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe said mea­sures will be taken to ac­cel­er­ate the re­cov­ery of af­fected re­gional economies and im­prove dis­as­ter pre­pared­ness, in­clud­ing lan­guage sup­port for tourists from abroad.

More than 100 bil­lion yen (US$885 mil­lion) is es­ti­mated to be re­quired for re­cov­ery from the Hokkaido quake on Septem­ber 6 and a trio of strong ty­phoons that bat­tered wide ar­eas of cen­tral and western Ja­pan in Au­gust and Septem­ber.

The cen­tral gov­ern­ment des­ig­nated dam­age in Hokkaido and other ar­eas as “ex­tremely se­vere” and will pro­vide 10 to 20 per cent more sub­si­dies to hard-hit mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties than it usu­ally does for smaller dis­as­ters, to as­sist with the re­pair of in­fra­struc­ture such as roads, bridges and agri­cul­tural fa­cil­i­ties.

In a meet­ing at his of­fice of min­is­ters in­volved in re­cov­ery work, Abe said the gov­ern­ment will launch a 24-hour call ser­vice in mul­ti­ple lan­guages and fur­ther pro­mote pro­vi­sion of in­for­ma­tion to for­eign vis­i­tors when trans­porta­tion and pub­lic ser­vices are dis­rupted. It will help air­ports in­crease staffers who speak Chi­nese and Korean, for in­stance.

Fund­ing will be pro­vided for steps to sup­port Hokkaido’s tourism in­dus­try af­ter the mag­ni­tude-6.7 quake caused a drop in the num­ber of tourists to the north­ern main is­land.

The de­ci­sion comes af­ter for­eign tourists voiced con­cerns about lim­ited avail­abil­ity of guid­ance in for­eign lan­guages at air­ports, train sta­tions and other fa­cil­i­ties at the time of the dis­as­ters.

“The cen­tral and lo­cal gov­ern­ments will work to­gether to deal with re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and re­con­struc­tion so that dis­as­ter vic­tims can re­gain their liveli­hoods and feel at ease as soon as pos­si­ble,” Chief Cabi­net Sec­re­tary Yoshi­hide Suga said in a press con­fer­ence.

The ex­panded sub­si­dies will cover nine typhoon-af­fected mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in Ni­igata, Nagano, Osaka, Nara and Wakayama pre­fec­tures.

Among the three ty­phoons, Jebi left 13 peo­ple dead and took a toll on western Ja­pan by caus­ing the tem­po­rary clo­sure of Kan­sai In­ter­na­tional Air­port, the main in­ter­na­tional air gate­way into the re­gion.

The Hokkaido quake killed 41 peo­ple and trig­gered a pre­fec­ture-wide black­out. The cen­tral gov­ern­ment will also ease con­di­tions for small and mid­size com­pa­nies in the hard­est-hit town of At­suma as well as neigh­bour­ing Mukawa and Abira to bor­row re­build­ing funds. — KY­ODO

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