• Kyodo

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Six prefectural governments in western Japan on Monday submitted emergency requests to Tokyo for a special budget to be set up for measures to prevent agricultural irrigation ponds from collapsing.

The request by the six, which include hard-hit Hiroshima and Okayama, came after the failure of reservoirs caused deadly flooding and landslides during the torrential rains earlier this month. Noting that many of the ponds are old and dangerous, it urged the central government to help strengthen or scrap them.

The request to the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry emphasized that aged reservoirs could lead to another disaster if measures are not taken immediately. The disaster is believed to have killed more than 220 people.

The other four prefectures requesting the funds are Hyogo, Yamaguchi, Kagawa and Ehime.

Last week, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the government will inspect all potentially dangerous farm ponds by the end of August and take countermeasures ahead of the autumn typhoon season.

Farm minister Ken Saito has said the nationwide inspection will cover 130,000 locations. The ministry also said the torrential rain as well as the preceding downpour caused by Typhoon Prapiroon caused ¥119.8 billion in damage to the agriculture and fishery sectors, far more than the ¥76.8 billion previously estimated.

On Sunday, Abe ordered the disaster response team to compile relief measures for affected industries using a ¥400 billion reserve fund and other sources.

As for small businesses in nonfarm sectors, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters losses caused by the rain disaster exceed ¥470 billion.

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