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The central government is poised to shoulder almost all the costs of reconstruction in areas hit by the devastating March 11 tsunami, Cabinet members said Sunday.

“The state would like to fully (take on the responsibility for such costs) without burdening the local governments,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told a news conference, saying some municipalities are struggling financially in the aftermath of the disaster.

Earlier in the day, disaster management minister Ryu Matsumoto said on a TV program, “Nearly all costs will come from state coffers,” indicating the government will consider raising the legally allowable rate of expenses it can shoulder to help municipalities remove huge amounts of rubble. The rate is currently set at 97.5 percent.

Internal affairs minister Yoshihiro Katayama, who appeared on another TV program, also pledged the government will make all-out efforts to reduce the amount of money municipalities have to find to rebuild the communities “to all but zero.”

Given that the disaster hit financially troubled municipalities, Katayama said subsidies to local governments will have to be raised.

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