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Reconstruction law to be applied to Kumamoto quakes

The government will carry out reconstruction work in municipalities affected by the Kumamoto quakes through the first-ever application of the Act on Reconstruction from Large-Scale Disasters. Specifically, the administration aims to rebuild the two-kilometer-long “Tawarayama Tunnel” on a prefectural highway connecting the villages of Nishihara and Minamiaso in Kumamoto Prefecture. The government will make an official decision at a Cabinet meeting at the beginning of the following week.

 

The act came into force in 2013 after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. The act defines the roles of the national government in recovery and reconstruction of areas affected by “an extremely devastating disaster.”

 

When damage is deemed extremely immense, the act stipulates that the government designate the disaster as “specially-designated large disaster” and establish a reconstruction task force. The administration plans to designate the region devastated by Kumamoto earthquakes as “an emergency disaster,” one rank below “specially-designated large disaster.”

 

The designation allows the government to implement reconstruction work such as restoring roads or rivers for the affected municipalities at the request of local governments including prefectures, cities, towns and villages. The act aims to reduce the burden on affected municipalities busy supporting disaster victims by taking over reconstruction work from planning to placing orders. However, the ratio of the financial burden between the national and local governments remains the same as the ratio for public works initiated by local municipalities.

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