Government draws up disaster reduction measures after summer floods across western Japan

JIJI

The government has drawn up a planned outline of disaster reduction measures in response to several large natural disasters this year, including steps to prevent airports from being inundated.

The draft outline includes the results of emergency inspections of crucial infrastructure that were conducted after the disasters, including landslides and earthquakes.

Measures to be taken include protecting emergency power sources at airports from flooding, and work to make levees higher along rivers considered particularly at risk from overflowing.

These measures should be implemented mainly over the next three years, according to the draft, which was presented at a closed-door meeting of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s research panel on measures to boost resilience to natural disasters.

The government and the ruling party are considering allocating a total of ¥3 trillion to ¥4 trillion from state funds for the disaster reduction measures.

Of the sum, more than ¥1 trillion will likely be secured under a planned second supplementary budget for fiscal 2018. Potential financial resources include surplus budget funds and fresh construction bonds.

The outline sets out a requirement for local governments to create hazard maps indicating where there is a risk of landslides, after torrential rains caused landslides and flooding at many locations across the west of the nation in July.

There are also measures to prevent large-scale blackouts, similar to the one that happened across Hokkaido after a powerful earthquake hit in early September.

The government conducted inspections of airports nationwide after buildings and a runway at Kansai International Airport in Osaka became flooded in September due to a powerful typhoon, damaging power equipment and causing a blackout.

Measures will be taken against flooding, as the inspections found that some airports have installed their emergency power sources underground.

The emergency inspections covered 132 areas governed by 12 government agencies. The government is expected to release the official version of the inspection results and disaster reduction measures as soon as the end of November.