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Severe Disaster Designations to Include Nagano, Gifu

Severe Disaster Designations to Include Nagano, Gifu

   Tokyo, July 9 (Jiji Press)--The Japanese government started on Thursday to consider including the central prefectures of Nagano and Gifu in the areas subject to its envisaged extremely severe and specified extraordinary disaster designations related to recent torrential rains.
   "I'd like you all to speed up surveys and discussions so that the designations will be made promptly," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told related officials at a meeting of the government's headquarters in response to the heavy rains on the day.
   An extremely severe disaster designation will increase state subsidies for local governments' reconstruction projects. The designation as a specified extraordinary disaster will make special measures available to affected people, such as the extension of the validity period of driver's licenses and eateries' business permits.
   "The central government needs to work as one to restore and rebuild affected areas as early as possible," Abe said, urging the officials to focus on grasping the needs in afflicted areas accurately and providing them with necessary support.
   In the recent downpours, which devastated wide areas in the country, especially Kumamoto and other prefectures in the Kyushu southwestern region, a total of some 130,000 people, including police officers, firefighters, Japan Coast Guard officers and Self-Defense Forces members, have been engaging in search and rescue operations.

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