A bill to offer public assistance to victims of future natural disasters passed the Upper House Special Committee on Disaster Relief on Wednesday, with the support of all non-Communist political parties.

The committee members as a whole, however, adopted a resolution calling for an administrative measure to provide survivors of the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake with monetary support equivalent to amounts that would be allocated to future disaster survivors.

The bill, which is likely to obtain approval from the House of Councilors during a Friday plenary session, is expected to be discussed by the House of Representatives next week and enacted during the current Diet session, which ends in June.

Under the bill, each household whose residence is destroyed by a natural disaster would receive up to 1 million yen in public assistance if the household’s annual income is less than 5 million yen. Up to 500,000 yen would be given if the head of the household is at least 60-years-old and the household’s annual income is less than 8 million yen.

The same amount of money would be provided if the head of the household is at least 45-years-old and the household’s annual income is less than 7 million yen. The central and local governments would cover the cost equally.

The Japanese Communist Party, which has suggested providing up to 5 million yen per household, voted against the bill, saying that the amount of assistance proposed in the bill would not be sufficient for households to restore their former standard of living. However, party members did vote in favor of the resolution.

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