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Abe to scrap trips to 4 countries

The Yomiuri Shimbun Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will cancel visits to four countries — Belgium, France, Saudi Arabia and Egypt — scheduled for Wednesday to July 18, according to sources.

Abe has decided to prioritize disaster response measures in the wake of significant damage caused by record rainfall, mainly in the western parts of the country. The government plans to designate the natural disaster as a disaster of extreme severity, the sources said.

In a meeting of the government emergency response headquarters at the Prime Minister’s Office on Monday morning, Abe expressed his positive attitude toward such a designation. “The government will implement proper fiscal measures, so that local governments can devote themselves to emergency measures and rehabilitation work without fiscal worries,” the prime minister said.

Designating the damage caused by the heavy rain as a disaster of extreme severity would increase by about 90 percent the central government’s subsidies for the recovery projects of local governments.

The prime minister has instructed related government ministries and agencies to establish teams to support disaster victims. The teams will examine the provision of relief supplies and dispatching employees to afflicted local governments, as well as how to prepare and improve the living environment at evacuation centers, such as by implementing measures against the summer heat at such facilities.Speech

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