Japan's environment and justice ministries have decided to allow publicly funded demolitions of houses and other buildings damaged by the Jan. 1 Noto Peninsula earthquake to be carried out without the consent of all owners.

The ministries notified the decision, aimed at easing the burden on applicants and smoothly conducting such demolitions, which have not made substantial progress, to the central prefecture of Ishikawa, hit hardest by the 7.6-magnitude quake, and nearby Toyama, Fukui and Niigata prefectures on Tuesday.

Previously, the consent of all owners concerned was required, in principle, for publicly paid demolitions, carried out for destroyed and severely damaged buildings.

Demolitions are possible without the consent of some of the owners if individuals representing them submit documents saying that they will take responsibility for the work. But the procedure for this is complicated, often leading to delays.

Under the new policy, full consent is not required for buildings such as those that were destroyed, badly damaged by flooding and burned down, and those whose first floor was crushed.

The ministries plan to use the new rule to advance demolition work for the whole of the Asaichi-dori morning market area in the Ishikawa city of Wajima. The market area was heavily damaged by a massive fire in the earthquake.