A public protection bill now under consideration by the government would give prefectures the right to demand that businesses stockpile goods for rescue operations.

According to a draft of the proposed legislation, it would also allow local governments to requisition land and facilities to house evacuees and enable authorities to punish those who ignore such orders.

The draft has been presented to and approved by a national security task force of the ruling coalition, government sources said.

They said it will be presented to a special House of Representatives committee on military emergency bills next week.

Proposed restrictions on people’s rights have been a major point of contention regarding the public protection bill, and the committee is expected to fine-tune the legislation in an attempt to win public approval.

The bill is expected to be passed within two years of the enactment of legislation spelling out the scope of responses in the event of a military emergency, a portion of which will be submitted to the Diet during the current session.

The draft that has been presented to the ruling coalition identifies the rights and obligations of the national government, local governments, designated public agencies and the public.

Under its framework, people would be called on to engage in rescue and firefighting activities, help transport the injured and voluntarily participate in disaster relief and prevention organizations.

The national government would be required to issue emergency decrees, prevent disasters involving nuclear reactors, ensure public safety and pursue foreign assistance.

As designated public agencies, broadcasters would be required to air warnings and evacuation orders, while the Japanese Red Cross Society would be called on to engage in medical and rescue activities. The Bank of Japan would be required to keep the financial system under control.

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