KOBE — People pushing for a disaster compensation bill, including well-known author Makoto Oda and several Diet members, visited the Hyogo governor and Kobe mayor earlier this week to explain the bill and seek support. “This is the first time we’ve met the governor and the mayor in this manner,” said Upper House member Shoji Motooka of the Democratic Reform Party.

The citizens’ bill, devised jointly with select Upper House members, was submitted to the Diet in June but was not taken up for substantial debate. The ruling Liberal Democratic Party had voiced opposition to it but agreed to put it to a special committee debate during the fall session. The bill calls for individual payments of up to 5 million yen to survivors of the Great Hanshin Earthquake and to survivors of future disasters, as well as creation of a long-term interest-free loan system. The cost to taxpayers would be more than 1 trillion yen. The central government would bear half the burden, with the prefectural and municipal governments responsible for one fourth each.

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