Disaster-relief bill is unveiled

Lawmakers and activists jointly unveiled a bill April 25 that would provide financial support to survivors of natural disasters, including the Great Hanshin Earthquake.

Such cooperation between lawmakers and the public in the legislative process is considered rare. The bill would enable each household that has lost its property in a natural disaster to receive up to 5 million yen in compensation. Recipients would be limited to households with a combined annual income of less than 20 million yen. The bill also calls for an increase in the ceiling on loans extended to survivors of natural disasters from the current 3.5 million yen to 5 million yen.

For survivors of the Hanshin quake, the proposal calls on the national government to bear all costs to restore their “foundation of life.” The cost has been estimated at about 1.1 trillion yen.