DPJ to submit pair of bills for more Kobe quake relief

The Democratic Party of Japan — the second largest opposition force — will soon submit to the Diet two bills designed to provide more financial aid to survivors of the Great Hanshin Earthquake.

According to the planned legislation, each household that suffered damage in the quake and has an annual income of less than 3.9 million yen is to be given a lump sum payment of 1 million yen, and 30,000 yen every month for four years beginning April 1998. Households with an annual income of less than 9 million yen will be entitled to receive up to 3 million yen in interest-free loans. Those who have lost their jobs or family business due to the Jan. 17, 1995, temblor can receive up to 10 million yen in low-interest loans.

The amount of condolence money for a family who lost one of its members in the quake will be raised from the current 5 million yen to 7 million yen, said Hiroshi Kawauchi, a DPJ Lower House member. “Of 4 trillion yen in special aid given by the government to Hyogo Prefecture, about 3.5 trillion yen has been spent for public works projects related to infrastructure,” Kawauchi told reporters. “Much more financial support should be provided to help quake victims rebuild their lives,” he said, adding that the DPJ will soon initiate talks with Shinshinto and the Social Democratic Party to seek their support for the bills.