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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 November 7 - 13  > Disaster victims relief law revised unanimously
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2007 November 7 - 13 [POLITICS]

Disaster victims relief law revised unanimously

November 9 & 10, 2007
With the unanimous vote in the plenary sessions of both Houses, the Natural Disaster Victims Relief Law to give assistance to victims of earthquakes and torrential rains was revised on November 9.

The revised law allows victims to use aid money for the rebuilding of houses. Under the previous law, the money could be used only for demolishing and removing wrecked houses.

In a House of Councilors special committee meeting the previous day, Japanese Communist Party representative Nihi Sohei welcomed the bill to revise the law, stating, “At last, the ruling and opposition parties have acted in concert. This bill reflects the earnest wish of victims.”

He also stressed the future necessity of further revision of the law so that victims with houses half-destroyed will become eligible for the aid and that the amount of aid will be increased.

The Natural Disaster Victims Relief Law was enacted in 1998 in the wake of the major earthquake that hit Kobe in 1995.

Joining forces with the victims’ movement demanding assistance for the rebuilding of houses, the Japanese Communist Party made efforts to enact such a law. Immediately after the 1995 earthquake, the JCP proposed that the state compensate individual victims. In 1996, the JCP published an outline of a bill to assist in rebuilding.

When the law was reviewed in 2004, the JCP appealed to other parties to extend the assistance to rebuilding of houses. Last September, the JCP made representations to Minister of State for Disaster Management Izumi Shinya.

JCP Chair Shii Kazuo on October 18 called on other parties to start consultations on the bill in order to enact it in the current session of the Diet.
- Akahata, November 9 & 10, 2007
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