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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 February 21 - 27  > JCP Koike talks with heads of 2011 disaster-affected municipalities
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2018 February 21 - 27 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

JCP Koike talks with heads of 2011 disaster-affected municipalities

February 21&23, 2018
In the run-up to the seventh anniversary of the Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami that hit the Tohoku region, Japanese Communist Party Secretariat Head Koike Akira visited disaster-hit Iwate Prefecture on February 20 and 21, receiving requests from the governor and leaders of three municipalities.

JCP members of the House of Councilors Kami Tomoko and Iwabuchi Tomo, both members of the House Special Committee on Reconstruction after the Great East Japan Earthquake, joined Koike on his visit.

In their two-day visit to Iwate, the three JCP parliamentarians held talks with mayors of Rikuzentakata City, Otsuchi Town, and Kamaishi City.

All three mayors cited the national government policy of ending its support for the 2011 disaster-affected regions’ reconstruction efforts at the end of March 2021, demanding the continuation of support for reconstruction. Koike in reply said, “It is unacceptable for the national government to set a time limit on support for disaster recovery. The JCP, jointly with other opposition parties, will push the government to continue its assistance.”

In Rikuzentakata City, where a large-scale land development project is under way in the city’s residential areas devastated by the massive tsunami, City Mayor Toba Futoshi stressed that in addition to the ongoing project, the city has various reconstruction projects which need financial support from Tokyo. Toba said that the government should provide support based on the specific situation in disaster-hit areas.

In the meeting in Otsuchi Town, Mayor Hirano Kozo demanded that the government assistance also assist to recover the town’s major industry, its fishery, by presenting the results of a recent prefectural government survey on the recovery in the fishing industry which indicated that the total fish catch and the total amount of aquaculture products stood at 50% and 60% of the pre-disaster level, respectively.

The Kamaishi City government has been providing low-rent housing to young people as a measure to help them settle in the city. Mayor Noda Takenori demanded an increase in financial support from the state, saying, “If we have an adequate budget we can provide more housing to the youth.”

On the first day of the two-day visit to Iwate, the JCP group led by Koike met with Iwate Governor Tasso Takuya at the prefectural office building.

Koike criticized the national government for its intent to cut support for disaster reconstruction efforts. He expressed his respect for the governor by citing the fact that the prefectural government maintains its own measures to reduce the financial burdens of 3.11 disaster victims, such as the reduction or exemption of medical fees and premiums on the Public Nursing-Care Insurance as well as rent subsidies for public housing units.
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