Japan govt draws up support plan to help quake-hit region

Japanese government officials have agreed on a support plan to help residents and businesses in central Japan recover from heavy damage caused by the massive earthquake that hit the region on New Year's Day.

A government task force responding to the disaster finalized the package plan on Thursday.

Under the plan, residents are exempt from the cost of demolishing their homes and will swiftly receive up to about 20,000 dollars to reconstruct houses that were destroyed or more than half destroyed.

As for temporary housing, the government plans to construct wooden units as well as conventional makeshift prefabricated structures. Wooden houses are more durable and will help survivors who need shelters for a relatively long time.

For businesses, the government will pay up to 75 percent of the expenses to resume operations at factories of small and midsized firms, with a cap of about 10 million dollars. Affected businesses that have already suffered damage in recent years will be able to receive additional financial support.

The plan includes support to replace agricultural machinery and fishing boats. The government will also help traditional industries such as Wajima-nuri lacquerware secure equipment and raw materials.

To boost tourism in the region, the government plans to pay half the hotel fees for tourists to the Hokuriku region, capped at about 135 dollars per stay, starting as early as March. The government will also consider further tourism support for the badly affected Noto Peninsula region while monitoring the recovery situation there.
The government says the package will utilize the national budget's reserve funds in the current fiscal year and in fiscal 2024.