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2020 January 15 - 21 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Citizens hold memorial services for victims of the 1995 quake

January 18, 2020
Citizens in Kobe City in Hyogo Prefecture on January 17 held memorial services for the 6,434 people killed in a major earthquake which occurred 25 years ago on this day.

In a prefecture residents' memorial rally, Iwata Nobuhiko of the "Hanshin-Awaji Great Earthquake Hyogo Congress for Rescue and Restoration" on behalf of the organizers reported on the achievements, including the enactment of the Natural Disaster Victims Relief Law, thanks to citizens' efforts calling for public support to reconstruct the livelihoods of the victims. He, however, said that many victims still suffer from having to make payments on loans from the Disaster Assistance Funds.

Kokuta Keiji, the head of the Japanese Communist Party Diet Affairs Commission and a JCP Dietmember, delivered a speech as a guest, and said that he had learned what to do to meet the victims' needs in the process of the post-disaster work. He looked back on his efforts to improve the conditions in evacuation centers/temporary housing units while directly negotiating with the central government for improvements. He also talked about the movement that was launched together with citizens for the establishment of the Natural Disaster Victims Relief Law. He stated that the protection of public safety is a prime role of politics, and that disaster prevention/reduction measures are the responsibility of the central government and local governments. Therefore, he pointed out, the need is for these administrative organs to give priority to countermeasures to address the issue of aging public facilities as well as to the repair/renovation of these facilities and other infrastructure.

On the same day, in Kobe City's Nagata Ward where a large-scale fire occurred just after the earthquake, an annual ceremony organized by Kobe residents took place.

JCP Kobe City assemblyperson Morimoto Shin said that he will work even harder to make the Natural Disaster Victims Relief Law more accessible. Citing several issues regarding the post-disaster reconstruction work concerning small business/shop owners, he said, "We don't know when and where a disaster will occur. Because of that, we must have truly effective countermeasures so that nobody will have a problem restoring homes and businesses."

Past related article:
> Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake marks 20th anniversary [January 18, 2015]
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