Kishida: Govt to use ¥150 Billion from FY2023 Budget’s Reserve Fund to Support People in Areas Affected by Noto Peninsula Earthquake

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida answers a question during a session at the Budget Committee of the House of Councillors, which on Wednesday afternoon discussed the Noto Peninsula Earthquake while the Diet was out of session.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced on Wednesday that the government will appropriate ¥150 billion from the fiscal 2023 budget reserve fund to support the victims of the Noto Peninsula Earthquake, stressing that it is necessary to consider mid- and long-term perspectives when taking relief measures.

Kishida made the announcement at the Diet. He attended meetings of the budget committees of both chambers of the Diet, which held deliberations on responses to the Noto Peninsula Earthquake out of session.

The Cabinet is expected to approve the plan to divert ¥150 billion from the reserve fund of the fiscal 2023 budget to support the victims in quake-stricken areas.

On Jan. 9, the Cabinet approved a plan to spend ¥4.74 billion from the fiscal 2023 budget’s reserve fund on relief measures. The government has also increased the fiscal 2024 draft budget’s reserve fund from ¥500 billion to ¥1 trillion.

At a session held on Wednesday at the lower house Budget Committee during the Diet adjournment, Kishida indicated that the government plans to compile a support package soon for rebuilding people’s livelihoods in the disaster-hit areas.

“The government will look at things through the point of view of the victims and the affected areas as we do our utmost to rebuild people’s livelihoods,” Kishida said.

Kishida also expressed his intention to launch the so-called Hokuriku support discount program to support the tourism industries of four prefectures in the Hokuriku region, including Ishikawa. The envisaged program will allow travelers to receive a discount of up to ¥20,000 per night, Kishida said.

Meanwhile, the prime minister was cautious about compiling a supplementary fiscal 2023 budget for recovery and reconstruction in the affected areas, saying, “The speediest way to respond to the situation is to boost the reserve fund.”