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Govt crafts aid package for flood-ravaged areas

Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The government has drawn up a package of measures, including financial aid for small companies and tourism industries, to facilitate the reconstruction of areas, mainly in western Japan, that were hit by torrential rain and subsequent floods and landslides last month.

At Thursday’s meeting of the government’s disaster response headquarters, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reported the compilation of the package and said that the government will decide at a cabinet meeting Friday to use ¥105.8 billion out of reserve funds set aside under its fiscal 2018 budget to finance the support measures.

“We need to put necessary measures into action with a sense of speed,” Abe said. “The government should do all it can to enable affected local communities to concentrate on reconstruction programs without worries about costs,” he added.

The package includes a program designed to speed up work by municipalities to remove disaster debris and sediment in a bid to help people in afflicted areas reconstruct their lives promptly.

The government will provide subsidies to cover up to three-quarters of costs to restore factories and stores if reconstruction programs are created jointly by small companies mainly in Okayama, Hiroshima and Ehime prefectures that were hit particularly hard by the disaster.

On tourism support, the government will introduce a system to discount hotel fees by up to ¥6,000 per person per night for tourists and business travelers who stay two nights or longer in two or more prefectures hit by the disaster. Hotels will get financial aid from the state to cover the discounts.

The day’s meeting was joined by the governors of Okayama, Hiroshima and Ehime prefectures. They asked the state to promote disaster prevention measures and for appropriate disposal of debris from the rain disaster.

Hiroshima Gov. Hidehiko Yuzaki called for additional support measures.Speech

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