Tokyo, March 27 (DPA) Japan’s national government said Sunday it would shoulder all costs of reconstruction in the northeastern region devastated by a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and a tsunami.
Tokyo is also studying measures that would cover nearly all costs of clearing debris in the region. Those would exceed the 7.3-magnitude quake that struck the western city of Kobe in 1995, Yukihiko Akutsu, parliamentary secretary for Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s cabinet, was quoted by Jiji Press as saying.
Tokyo covered 97.5 percent of the costs of clearing debris after the Kobe earthquake, which killed more than 6,400 people, Jiji said. Kobe however was not hit by a tsunami.
The March 11 disaster caused extensive damage, Akutsu reportedly told a meeting of the Miyagi prefecture local government.
Katsuya Okada, secretary general of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan, visited Hachinohe City in Aomori Prefecture Sunday. The city’s fishing industry was damaged by the earthquake and tsunami. Okada told reporters the government would provide financial assistance needed in the region.
The government also said that Tokyo would offer a total of 42,145 public housing units to victims of the earthquake and tsunami. The units include apartments for national civil servants and rental housing for low-income earners, Jiji said.
The latest Kyodo News survey showed Sunday that 57.9 percent of those polled approved of the way the government had dealt with disaster victim support while 39.2 percent did not.
More help is also on the way. An Israeli emergency medical team arrived in Japan Sunday night to treat survivors of the disaster, marking the first foreign medical team to be dispatched to the region, Kyodo News reported citing Japanese Foreign Ministry officials.
The 53-member team including 14 doctors and seven nurses is scheduled to work in Minami Sanriku Town in Miyagi Prefecture, northeastern Japan, the officials said.
Israel also shipped items needed in the afflicted areas such as 10,000 articles of winter clothing, 6,000 blankets, 8,300 pairs of gloves and 150 sets of portable toilets, Kyodo said.
The death toll from the earthquake and tsunami stood at 10,668 Sunday, while 16,574 people were listed as missing, Japan’s National Policy Agency said.
About 245,000 people have been evacuated to some 2,000 emergency shelters, the agency said.