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Japanese govt to spend $660 million rebuilding areas ravaged by New Year’s Day earthquake

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced on Saturday (Feb 24) that his administration plans to allocate an additional $660 million (100 billion yen) for the reconstruction of areas devastated by a magnitude-7.5 earthquake on New Year’s Day, as reported by the news agency AFP. Speaking at a press conference in Wajima, the city most severely impacted by the disaster, Prime Minister Kishida acknowledged that while living conditions in temporary shelters were gradually improving, the harsh reality persisted.

Kishida revealed that the proposed supplementary funding would be subject to approval by his cabinet in the coming days. He outlined that a portion of these funds would be allocated to support a subsidy program aimed at assisting young families and those raising children in rebuilding their homes, which were destroyed by the earthquake. Additionally, efforts to expedite the construction of prefabricated temporary housing would be intensified, along with increased assistance for Wajima’s traditional craft industry.

The earthquake and subsequent aftershocks wrought havoc on various parts of the Ishikawa region, resulting in the loss of 241 lives and displacing over 10,000 individuals, who sought refuge in shelters and hotels. Furthermore, water supplies remained disrupted in certain areas of Ishikawa.

Prime Minister Kishida’s announcement of the additional funding came during his visit to the earthquake-affected regions to assess the situation. This marks the third allocation of emergency funds for recovery efforts following the disaster, bringing the total amount allocated to over $1.7 billion.

A government estimate released last month projected that the total damage in Ishikawa and neighboring regions could range between $7.4 billion and $17.6 billion, based on data from previous major earthquakes. Despite Japan’s stringent construction regulations aimed at ensuring buildings can withstand seismic activity, many structures, particularly in rural areas with aging populations, remain vulnerable due to their age.


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