The Upper House approved a bill April 24 that will provide up to 1 million yen in public assistance to survivors of future natural disasters.

During the plenary session of the 252-member chamber, 181 voted for the bill and 17 voted against it. The bill was immediately sent to the Lower House.

The bill was jointly proposed by six non-Communist political parties in the Upper House working with citizens’ groups involved in pushing for relief for survivors of the Great Hanshin Earthquake.

Although the bill is not retroactive to survivors of past disasters, a resolution adopted by the Upper House Special Committee on Disaster Relief urges the government to take administrative measures to provide survivors of the 1995 Hanshin quake with monetary assistance equivalent to the amount to be provided by the new legislation.

Hisaoki Kamei, head of the National Land Agency, has said the government will take appropriate measures to achieve what is called for in the resolution.

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