Funds mulled to move schools out of tsunami zones

JIJI

The ruling coalition is planning to earmark funding to help move schools and other facilities for children and the elderly out of tsunami range from a massive earthquake.

The Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito are considering including the measure in proposed legislation to prepare for a powerful quake in the Nankai Trough off the Pacific coast, coalition officials said Thursday.

According to an outline of draft legislation, they are considering funding half the cost of relocating schools and one-third of the cost of moving medical institutions.

The outline calls on the prime minister to designate special areas where a tsunami of more than 30 cm is expected within 30 minutes after a Nankai Trough earthquake.

Cities in those areas would be required to draw up plans for evacuation areas and routes. Two-thirds of the cost of building tsunami evacuation facilities would by covered by the central government budget.

The government estimates that if a magnitude 9.0 quake hits in the Nankai Trough, up to 320,000 people could die, mostly on the Pacific coast.