Japan Prime Minister: Use Hotels to House Quake Evacuees; Calls for Ministries to Take Over Restoration of Roads

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaks to the press at the Prime Minister’s Office on Saturday.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has directed local governments to rent vacant rooms in hotels and inns as emergency accommodations, to improve the lives of those affected by the Noto Peninsula Earthquake.

Kishida issued the directive on Saturday during a meeting of the Emergency Headquarters for the Noto Peninsula Earthquake at the Prime Minister’s Office.

Main roads such as National Highway Route 249 have been cut off by landslides, and Kishida also asked that relevant ministries and agencies take over restoration work from the prefectures that administer these roads.

“We want to secure transportation routes to quickly reach isolated areas,” the prime minister said.

Kishida stressed the importance of calling on the public not to travel to affected areas in private cars, so that priority can be given to vehicles needed for disaster recovery.

After the meeting, Kishida told reporters at the Prime Minister’s Office that designation of the earthquake as an extreme-severity disaster was “in sight.” This designation would increase national government subsidies for road and farmland restoration projects, reducing the burden on local governments.

Regarding the death toll exceeding 100, Kishida said, “I strongly feel the enormity of the damage.”

The number of Self-Defense Force personnel operating in the disaster area has been increased by about 400, bringing the total to approximately 5,400, Defense Minister Minoru Kihara told the press at the Defense Ministry on Saturday.