The Board of Audit's annual report on the use of the state budget highlights a number of cases in which government funding used to beef up measures against natural disasters has not produced sufficient results. While the report says that overall wasteful or inefficient use of taxpayer money in fiscal 2018 — ¥100.2 billion — was the second-lowest in a decade, the fact that state-funded projects designed to save people's lives in major disasters are not properly executed should be taken seriously.

In response to the series of disasters that hit the nation this year, including deadly typhoons and the massive flooding they caused, the government plans to feature large-scale spending to improve disaster-prevention infrastructure as well as fund reconstruction of disaster areas in an economic stimulus package to be prepared soon. It is equally important to constantly monitor whether such measures already in place are having the intended effects.

The latest Board of Audit report focuses on the adequate use of state funds for disaster-related projects in view of the severe damage caused by typhoons and earthquakes in recent years. The report cites one case in which state-subsidized programs implemented by local governments to probe the durability of reservoirs — whose damage in torrential rains and earthquakes has caused flooding that endangered nearby residents — were conducted based on incorrect criteria. The deviation means necessary repairs may not have been made to facilities with a high risk of damage.