Source: Government of Japan – Prime Minister
On July 13, 2020, the Prime Minister held the seventh meeting of the Emergency Headquarters for the Heavy Rain in July 2020 at the Prime Minister’s Office.
Based on the discussion, the Prime Minister said,
“Today, together with Minister Takeda, minister in charge of disaster management, I visited disaster affected areas in the city of Hitoyoshi and the village of Kuma, Kumamoto Prefecture. We witnessed with our own eyes the immense damage left by the recent heavy rains. At the evacuation centers, we also met with some of the disaster victims, who are facing uneasy and challenging times, and directly heard from each of them their hardship, as well as their requests towards rebuilding their daily lives going forward.
In those areas, it continues to rain and it is still necessary to maintain vigilance against new disasters. We have renewed our resolve to exert every effort, not only in emergency disaster responses, but also to support the daily lives of the disaster victims. The evacuation centers we visited made various efforts to protect the health of the evacuees, such as measuring body temperature, securing space between fellow evacuees, and using partitions. I ask you to continue to ascertain the continuously changing needs of the affected areas, such as with push-mode support to ensure thorough infectious disease control measures, and expeditiously respond to them. For our immediate response, in order to further strengthen push-mode support, we will make a Cabinet Decision tomorrow to approve disbursements from the contingency funds.
The economic situation has already been deteriorating due to the impact of the novel coronavirus. Against this backdrop, many farmers, foresters and fishermen, and micro-, small- and medium-sized business operators are also being significantly hit by the damages caused by the heavy rains. We are facing a reality that they could lose the strength to restart businesses. There is no time to spare for rebuilding their daily lives and livelihoods. We must take steps immediately for securing housing, including building temporary housing facilities, disposing waste, earth and sediment, as well as resuming the businesses of farmers, foresters and fishermen, and micro-, small- and medium-sized business operators. We have financial resources exceeding 400 billion yen, which combine contingency funds and budget items for disaster recovery. I ask you to make full use of these resources, and working with the Team to Support the Daily Lives of Disaster Victims, to compile by the end of this month a policy package towards the rebuilding of daily lives and livelihoods of the disaster victims.
In order to protect the rights of the disaster victims and support the efforts to rebuild their daily lives, tomorrow, we will designate the recent disaster as a ‘specific extraordinary disaster’ with a Cabinet Decision. This will, among other benefits, allow those who cannot renew their driver’s license to extend its expiration date, and exempt them from conciliation fees required under the Civil Conciliation Act. It will also allow the affected people to receive free legal services on various legal issues that arise in the aftermath of the disaster.
From tonight onwards, heavy rain is expected to fall again across western and eastern Japan, including the disaster-affected areas. It is essential to maintain sufficient vigilance against secondary disasters, and accelerate restoration. I ask you to be mindful of how the disaster victims are feeling right now and continue working as one and advancing a series of measures with a sense of urgency.”