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2014 May 7 - 13 [WELFARE]

Pushed by JCP, city subsidizes rental housing owners hit by 2011 disaster

May 5, 2014
In response to the strong demand from a local business group and the Japanese Communist Party, a municipality established an independent system to support reconstruction of small businesses damaged by the March 2011 disaster.

The Kesennuma City government in Miyagi Prefecture established a system in November last year to subsidize small- and medium-sized businesses. Unlike the prefecture’s support system, the city subsidies cover real estate business owners. Using this subsidy program, rental house owners in the city repair their housing units and provide them to displaced people.

Endo Fusako, 75, runs an apartment house in the city, the downstairs part of which was damaged by the tsunami. The city gave her a subsidy of 1.27 million yen, covering two-thirds of the cost for repairs totaling 1.9 million yen.

Under the system, the city pays two-thirds (up to three million yen) of repair costs of commercial facilities damaged by the disaster, when those costs exceed 1.5 million yen.

A local Democratic Commerce and Industry Organization (Minsho) and JCP members of the Kesennuma City Assembly have jointly urged the city authorities to set up an independent program to assist small businesses. Chiba Tetsumi, the Minsho secretary, said, “Even though rental apartment owners such as Endo provide housing to the victims, the prefecture has failed to support them. It’s good for the city to expand the coverage of subsidies to the realty business.”

The number of the subsidy users reached 128 as of the end of February. Of that, 56 are related to the real estate business, and 41 are connected with the retail and food service industries.

Past related article:
> 2011 disaster victims still living in difficult conditions: Akahata survey [March 11, 2014]
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