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Gov’t to designate Typhoon Hagibis as “specified” disaster: Abe

Marumori, Miyagi Pref., Oct. 17 (Jiji Press)–The Japanese government plans to designate recent powerful Typhoon Hagibis as a “specified” disaster, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said during a visit to an affected area Thursday.
   

The government plans to formalize the designation at a cabinet meeting Friday. The designation provides benefits to disaster victims, such as the extension of the expiration dates on their driver’s license and the valid period of restaurant operation permits, and the suspension of bankruptcy procedures.
   

Abe unveiled the plan in talks with reporters in the town of Marumori in the northeastern prefecture of Miyagi, where massive flooding occurred as a riverbank broke due to the 19th typhoon of the year.
   

Among natural disasters in Japan that were designated as specified disasters in the past were the earthquake that ravaged the western city of Kobe and surrounding areas in 1995, the 2011 earthquake and tsunami mainly in the Tohoku northeastern region, the 2016 twin earthquakes in the southwestern prefecture of Kumamoto and the 2018 torrential rains in western Japan.
   

“I saw the tremendous scars left by the disaster and listened to the hardships of afflicted people,” Abe said. “We’ll do whatever we can so that people can go back to living in safety as quickly as possible.”
   

Earlier on Thursday, Abe visited Fukushima Prefecture, adjacent to Miyagi, to grasp the extent of the damage wreaked by the typhoon. Fukushima has seen the largest number of deaths from the typhoon, totaling 27 as of Thursday morning.
   

In the city of Koriyama in Fukushima, Abe visited Koriyama Central Industrial Park, which was flooded by torrential rains from the typhoon, and then went to an evacuation center to console victims. He later headed to the Fukushima city of Motomiya to inspect flooded areas and an evacuation center, after the Abukuma River, which runs through the city, overflowed.
   

This was Abe’s first visit to areas affected by Typhoon Hagibis. As of Thursday morning, a total of 77 people have been confirmed to have died directly due to the typhoon in Tokyo and 11 prefectures, while 10 others remain missing in six prefectures.
   

At a meeting of the government’s typhoon response headquarters in Tokyo on Thursday night, participants confirmed measures such as supporting the disposal of debris from the disaster using troops and equipment of the Self-Defense Forces.

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