Abe pledges measures for Itoigawa, hit by major fire

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visits Itoigawa, Niigata Prefecture, on Wednesday.

Jiji PressITOIGAWA, Niigata (Jiji Press) — Prime Minister Shinzo Abe paid a visit Wednesday to Itoigawa, Niigata Prefecture, where a major fire ravaged a commercial area late last month.

He unveiled a plan to set up a panel of national, prefectural and city government officials to consider reconstruction measures.

“We hope to create a town livelier than it was before the disaster,” he told reporters at the city hall.

The fire has been officially designated as a natural disaster because it was spread by strong winds. The designation allows affected people to get grants under a law to help disaster victims rebuild their lives.

The fire started at a Chinese restaurant on the morning of Dec. 22 and damaged 144 buildings, of which 120 were fully destroyed. It was put out about 30 hours later.

During the visit, Abe told Niigata Gov. Ryuichi Yoneyama and others that his government will do all it can to assist reconstruction in the fire-hit area.Speech

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