Abe Orders Designation of Kyushu Rains as Extraordinary Disaster

Politics Lifestyle

Tokyo, July 7 (Jiji Press)--Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday ordered related officials to swiftly designate devastating floods and landslides from recent torrential rains mainly in the Kyushu southwestern region as a specified extraordinary disaster under a relevant law.

At a meeting of the government's headquarters in response to the heavy rains, Abe also indicated a plan to double the number of Self-Defense Forces members engaged in search and rescue operations and activities to support survivors to some 20,000.

"We'll boost efforts to help afflicted people reconstruct their lives while checking the extent of damage," Abe said. He also called on related institutions to "make every pre-emptive move to deal with the disaster while standing shoulder to shoulder with victims."

A designation as a specified extraordinary disaster would make special measures available to affected people, such as having the validity period of driver's licenses and eateries' business permits extended.

The floods and landslides would be the seventh catastrophe to be designated as a specified extraordinary disaster. The past such disasters include the January 1995 earthquake that devastated the western city of Kobe and surrounding areas, the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami mainly in the Tohoku northeastern region and the 2018 torrential rains in western Japan.

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