Bill to aid Hanshin quake victims submitted

A nonpartisan group of lawmakers submitted a bill May 14 aimed at providing financial aid to households hit by the Great Hanshin Earthquake in January 1995.

Planned support measures include giving a lump sum of 500,000 yen to each member of a household whose annual individual income for fiscal 1996 was less than two-thirds of what was earned in fiscal 1994. However, the ceiling for the amount of money payable to one household would be 2.5 million yen, and eligible households would be limited to those with low income, for instance a family of four earning 4.6 million yen a year.

Households consisting only of elderly people aged 65 and over whose income for fiscal 1995 was smaller than 3.9 million yen would be provided with 20,000 yen a month until December 1998. People who have lost their jobs or family businesses due to the quake would be able to borrow up to 10 million yen at low interest. Up to 20 million yen in low-interest loans would be made available for people whose houses were destroyed by the quake.

Akaba said the bill has a chance for passage if the Social Democratic Party supports it. However, it is expected to be difficult to obtain the SDP’s support because it is still an ally of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, which opposes the fund.