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田近荣治、宫崎武:从金融角度看日本灾后重建系统
 2010年09月22日
来源:省政府办公厅
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  摘要

  对日本的历次灾害进行回顾。近年来,由风灾、水灾引起的死亡及失踪人数虽然在逐渐减少,但是因地震引发的损失在阪神大地震中却达到了极为严重的程度。同时一般认为,今后在大城市中发生大地震的机率很高。

  对于在灾后恢复?复兴方面日本所做的努力,我将从实物?现金补偿、复兴基金、基础设施重建等方面进行说明。日本有各种各样的帮扶援助制度,我们来看一下这些制度都是怎样建立起来的。

  根据以上内容,我将对于灾后恢复及复兴工作中的政府角色,从恢复?复兴的优先顺序、事前工作的意义、以及中央政府与地方政府的角色分配等角度进行论述。

  I. Introduction

  It is quite difficult for us to think about and be prepared for disasters at ordinary times.  This is true of the national and local governments as well as individuals.  Fukuzaki (2005) points out that Japan has gradually established its systems and programs for providing governmental financial assistance from emergency aid to rehabilitation and reconstruction through various large-scale disasters which caused the necessity of creating new measures to meet the needs of each disaster.  That is, the systems have been reviewed subsequently to disasters, and the review consequent upon a disaster has been more actively carried out since the Hanshin-Awaji Great Earthquake that involved more than 6,000 deaths.

  As a result, the Socioeconomic Rehabilitation Aid for Victims Law was enacted (in May 1998) as a new program.  Afterward the Law was followed by the 2004 amendment that approved housing-related expenses and by the amendment that significantly alleviated approval requirements for housing-related expenses as the first legislature enacted by the so-called “divided parliaments” in 2007.  The 2007 amendment was retroactively applied to the cases of disasters caused by the 2007 Noto Peninsula Earthquake, the Niigata Chuetsu Earthquake, Typhoon No. 11 and front, and Typhoon No. 12.  The Reconstruction Fund established at the time of the volcanic eruption of Mt. Unzen was expanded to a scale of 900 billion yen fund after the Hanshin-Awaji Great Earthquake with projects totaling to 350 billion yen.  This program was originally established with the aim of assisting the reconstruction of the living of victims (Hayashi 2007), but it was inherited to the Niigata Chuetsu Earthquake although the Socioeconomic Rehabilitation Aid for Victims Law had been already enacted.

  The purpose of this paper is to explore how financial support should be at the time of disaster based on the programs that have been established and their problems.  The following sections will discuss each program in the order of its application to disasters; Disaster Relief Law, Condolence Grant Program, Law for Financial Aid for Major Disasters, Program for Socioeconomic Rehabilitation Aid for Victims and Reconstruction Fund.  This paper will also look into the process of rehabilitation and reconstruction after the Niigata Chuetsu Earthquake as a case study by comparing with the Hanshin-Awaji Great Earthquake in order to show how each program has been put into practice.

  Various studies have focused on specific issues such as the amendments to the Socioeconomic Rehabilitation Aid for Victims Law and on the measures to be taken to address an individual case of disaster in urban earthquakes including a near-field earthquake in the Tokyo Metropolitan area.  On the other hand, an overall perspective on the way that financial support should be at the time of disaster has been neglected.  This paper aims for paving the way for the future development of such perspective and offers the authors’ opinions as to the practical application of the programs based on the field studies at the sites of disasters.

  The section 2 discusses the systems and programs of financial aid for rehabilitation and reconstruction at the time of disaster in Japan.  Section 3 looks at retrospectively the damage caused by the Niigata Chuetsu Earthquake, and section 4 shows how each system and program presented in section 2 has been translated into action in the field.  Section 5 points out specifically the views which have been missed in the past discussions on the way that Japan’s financial aid should be at the time of disaster and discusses the importance of enhancing exploration from a new perspective based on our discussions in the above sections.

  ?

  Ⅱ Systems/Programs for rehabilitation and reconstruction

  at the time of disaster

  II-1 Emergency measures for disasters and rehabilitation

  Disaster Relief Law

  The Disaster Relief Law prescribes how the national government should carry out post-disaster emergency measures.  The primary purposes of the measures are that “the national government, in cooperation with local governments, the Japanese Red Cross Society, other organizations and individuals, carries out necessary emergency relief activities, protects victims and maintains social order at the time of disaster (Article 1).”  Emergency relief shall be provided under the responsibility of the national government, but in the field of disaster, the prefectural government represents the national government and carries out relief activities with the help of municipal mayors.  The expenses of the relief activities shall be paid by the prefecture.  However, when the expenses exceed a given rate of the general tax revenues of the prefecture, the national government shall pay up to 90% of the expenses.

  The types of relief activities carried out under the Disaster Relief Law include the “provision of shelters and temporary housing,” “provision of foods through cooking at emergency kitchens and provision of water,” “provision or lending of clothes, beddings and other daily necessaries,” “medical care services and midwifery services,” “rescue of victims,” “temporary repairs of damaged houses,” “provision or lending of fund, equipment and supplies necessary for business,” “provision of school supplies,” “burial,” “search and treatment of bodies,” “removal of sediments and woods/bamboos that interfere greatly with daily living” (Article 23 of the Disaster Relief Law and Article 9 of the Enforcement Ordinance of the Law).

  In practice, such relief activities embody the features that a high percentage of the expenditure is spent for the provision of temporary housing, emergency measures for houses, provision of foods through cooking at emergency kitchens, etc., and establishment of shelters and that in-kind support is offered to victims by way of emergency relief.  In recent years, it has been argued that it is necessary to explore the ways in which relief activities should be carried out based on the vision of our society, that is, the way that the city should be and the way that the region should be, and also based on social policies.  It has been also pointed out that the conventional relief activities with in-kind support have limitation by imposing restraint on where people should live.

  Law concerning Payment, etc. of Disaster Condolence Grant (Condolence Grant Law)

  One of the laws that were enacted with the aim of offering cash to victims as a financial aid measure for the livelihoods of victims is the Condolence Grant Law.  Under this Law, cash is given to persons who have been killed or seriously wounded by disaster.  An amount of \5,000,000 is paid to the death of a person who is the main bread-earner (disaster condolence money) and \2,500,000 to the deaths of others.  Likewise, an amount of \2,500,000 or \1,250,000 is paid to each victim who has been seriously injured (disaster disability consolation payment). 

  Besides, a “loan as disaster aid fund” is granted under the Condolence Grant Law.  The requirements for receiving the loan include; a wounded head of a household, loss of household effects, and total or partial destruction of or loss of a dwelling.  The municipality, as the implementing entity, grants a loan up to \3,500,000 predicated upon a certain restriction on the income of a household (for instance, \4,300,000 per two-member household).  Ordinarily a grace period is set for three years and the loan shall be repaid within ten years from the day of borrowing.  The national government pays two-thirds of the loan and the prefectural government pays its one-third.  The municipal government is held responsible for its repayment.

  The disaster condolence grant, disaster disability consolation payment and disaster relief fund are paid as emergency financial support based on necessary prerequisites such as death or severe disabilities caused by disaster, a degree of damage and income.  In the case of the Hanshin-Awaji Great Earthquake it was expected that the disaster aid fund would be smoothly repaid after a grace period of five years following its lending.  A matter of fact, however, is that bad debts pose a problem.  It is reported that the irrecoverable loans amount to \25.1 billion (Kobe Newspaper dated Jan. 11, 2008).  In Kobe-shi where the problem looms particularly large has requested the national government to extend or review the time of repayment.

  Program for Socioeconomic Rehabilitation Aid of Victims

  In the aftermath of the volcanic eruption of Mt. Unzen (1991) prior to the Hanshin-Awaji Great Earthquake, compensation for damaged individual’s houses was paid out of the fund which was originally developed from donations.  Such indemnity for individual’s houses was possible because the damage caused by the eruption of Mt. Unzen was far much smaller than the Hanshin-Awaji Great Earthquake in terms of scale and amount.  After the Hanshin-Awaji Great Earthquake, people repeatedly alluded to the indemnity for individual’s houses paid in the aftermath of the eruption of Mt. Unzen, and there was a mounting demand for compensation for houses which were personal property at the time of disaster.  As a result, the Socioeconomic Rehabilitation Aid for Victims Law was passed with a concurring bipartisan vote in 1998 after requests from citizens and Governor’s Association and discussions in the Diet.  This Law allows the disaster victims who have lost their houses to receive an amount up to one million yen to buy their daily necessaries.

  Subsequently, it was amended on April 1, 2004 to institute a housing stabilization support program with the aim of helping victims reconstruct or repair a house, or to rent a house.  The program increased the upper limit to three million yen in total together with living-related expenses from one million yen.  The maximum amounts provided under the Program for Socioeconomic Rehabilitation Aid for Victims, etc. are shown in Table 1 below.  The categories from (1) to (4) are related to living-related expenses and the categories from (5) to (8) are provided to support victims in repairing their houses.  The ceiling was raised to three million yen in total, one million yen for living-related expenses and two million yen for housing-related expenses.  The qualifications of households to receive the money include (1) houses which have been “totally destroyed” or “partially damaged and forced to be dismantled” by natural disasters, (2) households that have been forced to take shelter for a prolonged period of time by pyroclastic flows and the like, or (3) households of which houses have been partially damaged and which find it difficult to live without extensive repairs (partly but extensively damaged).

  ?

  Table 1: Upper limits and target expenses of the Program for Socioeconomic Rehabilitation Aid for Victims (2000 Amended Law)

  Income and age-limit of the household head  No. of persons in household Maximum amount of financial aid Living-related expenses (1)~(4)(Notes) Housing-related expense (5)~(8) (Notes)

  Income of 5,000,000 or less  Multiple  \3,000,000  \1,000,000  \2,000,000

  One-person  \2,250,000    \750,000  \1,500,000

  The age of household head is 45 or higher with an income of 5 million yen or more and 7 million yen or less  Multiple  \1,500,000    \500,000  \1,000,000

  The household head is 60 year old or older or in need of protection with an income of 5 million yen or more and 8 million yen or below One-person  \1,125,000    \375,000    \750,000

  (Note) (1) Expenses to buy or repair daily living necessaries: (2) Medical expenses for persons who have been wounded by natural disaster or persons who have become sick: (3) Expenses for moving or transportation: (4) Gratuity for renting a house: (5) Rent for privately-owned house and expenses for temporary dwelling (up to \500,000): (6) Expenses for dismantling (taking away), removal and leveling of ground; (7) Interest on loans to construct or buy a house: (8) Various expenses related to loan guarantee fee and rebuilding a house.

  ※The households of which houses were partially but extensively damaged become the target of (5) ~ (8) (with a limitation of one million yen and including interest on loans for repairs).  The expenses pertaining (1) and (3) shall be provided within a limitation of \700,000 to a household that needs to take shelf for a prolonged period of time.  When a household moves to a different prefecture, the half of each item from (5) to (8) shall be paid.

  (Source) Data published by the Cabinet Office

  The 2004 amendment approved that the money would be spent as living-related expenses.  However, controversy continued as to the fact that no compensation money was paid to cover the expenses for the house proper although financial support was provided to loans necessary for the construction/purchase of a house.  Amidst the controversy, on December 12, 2007 the Socioeconomic Rehabilitation Aid for Victims Law was enacted as the first legislature that passed the so-called “divided parliaments,” thereby making it possible to provide monetary aid directly to the construction and purchase or repairs of a house (Table 2).  This amendment also abolished all the requirements on the income and age of the household head when the Law would be applied.

  

  ?

  Table 2: Requirements and amounts under the 2007 Amendment to

  the Socioeconomic Rehabilitation Aid for Victims Law

  (1) Monetary aid provided depending upon a degree of damage to house

  (Basic monetary aid)

  Total destruction, dismantling, or prolonged displacement \1,000,000

  Partial but extensive damage    500,000

  (2) Monetary aid provided according to the reconstruction method of house

  Construction/purchase  2,000,000

  Repair  1,000,000

  Renting (except for public housing)   500,000

  

  (3) Limitation on income and age of the target household

  The limitation on the income and age have been abolished for the target households; totally destroyed house, dismantled house, prolonged displacement, and partly but extensively damaged house.

  (Source) Prepared by the authors from the data published by the Cabinet Office

  Thus, these amendments made the program “user-friendly .”  On the other hand, there are apprehensions about potential failure of the system when a gigantic earthquake strikes.   The financial source is the Support Fund for Reconstructing Livelihoods of Disaster Victims offered by the prefectural government, but it is so designed that the national government will supplement the half of the monetary aid when a greater fund is necessary.  The reserve fund which has been accumulated by prefectures amounts to 113 billion yen as of now.  The Cabinet Office (Professionals Committee for Near-field Earthquake in Tokyo) estimates that approximately 13,000 persons will be killed and more than 850,000 houses will be totally destroyed by an earthquake and subsequent fires in the worst case, thereby amounting to monetary aid of 3,400 billion yen in total (estimated by Asahi Newspaper).  Hence, it has been pointed out that the system itself will not function if such a large-scale earthquake occurs.

  II – 2 Measures for rehabilitation and reconstruction

  Major Disaster System

  The System for Financial Aid for Major Disasters is a program in which “if a disaster takes place that will inflict a far-reaching and serious effect upon national economy and when it is deemed necessary to alleviate the local financial burden caused by the disaster or to provide special subsidies to its victims, … special measures shall be taken, such as increasing the assistance rate of the national government for post-disaster recovery projects, thereby reducing the burden of local public bodies and victims.”  This system is based on the Law concerning Special Financial Aid to deal with Major Disasters (hereinafter referred to as the Major Disaster Law) and has been enacted with the aim of a national long-lasting system for post-disaster recovery jointly under the Law on Temporary Measures for Subsidies from National Treasury for Expenses for Project to Recover Facilities for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Damaged by Disaster (hereinafter referred to as the Temporary Measures Law) aiming for contributing to the maintenance and stable management of agriculture, forestry and fisheries and the Law on National Treasury's Sharing of Expenses for Project to Recover Public Civil Engineering Works Damaged by Disaster (hereinafter referred to as the Sharing Law) aiming for ensuring public welfare.

  Under this system there are two standards to be applied depending upon a degree of damage: Major Disaster Designation Standards (Major Disaster) and Localized Major Disaster Designation Standards (Localized Disaster).  In the Major Disaster a nationwide standard is applied to the damage, thereby creating a situation in which the Major Disaster is not applied because the damage does not go beyond the standard even though a localized area suffers serious damage.  Hence, the Localized Major Disaster Designation Standards (Localized Disaster) were set up in 1968 to adopt the damage in a municipality as the standard for designation.  As a result, the Major Disaster designates a disaster itself, whereas the Localized Disaster declares a major disaster by municipality.  However, the Major Disaster may declares a major disaster, but all municipalities do not necessarily receive the same special measures.  Instead, only areas that have sustained greater damage than a given standard become the target of designation. 

  The Cabinet Office decides the contents and targets of the measures under the Major Disaster Law.  As for individual measures, each ministry or agency takes its own measures separately under separate laws.  Requests from each ministry are appropriated on the supplementary budget, and then the budget is executed.

  Since 1984 the Hanshin-Awaji Great Earthquake was the only case in which the major disaster designation was issued on public civil engineering facilities.  Despite requests from local public bodies asking to designate the damage caused by torrential rains in various areas as a major disaster, they were not designated as “major disaster” based on the nationwide standards of damage.  In March 2000 the Major Disaster Designation Standards were revised, thereby making it possible to declare quickly a major disaster when serious damage has been caused on public civil engineering facilities (Disaster Control System Task Force 2003).

  The alleviated designation standards have contributed to smoother rehabilitation and reconstruction operations.  However, a few problems have been pointed out as to the designation as a major disaster in order to expedite the process of reconstructing disaster-stricken areas with subsidies from the national government.  In the Major Disaster Law, the Temporary Measures Law and the Sharing Law, the project for post-disaster recovery is defined as “a project which derives from the necessity caused by disaster and is carried out with the aim of restoring disaster-stricken facilities to the original state.”  It is stipulated that the restoration to the original state shall mean the “reconstruction of facilities which are comparable to the configuration, measurements and materials of the disaster-stricken facilities at the same place.”   Thus, as has been pointed out, the project has an aspect that does not help facilitate post-disaster recovery effectively and, in some cases, inflicts a financial burden on local governments.

  Another problem pointed out by some is that each subsidized project has a different rate of subsidy, whereby higher priority is given to implementing the projects with higher rates of subsidy without implementing projects with lower rates of subsidy or with few subsidies even though they are similar projects (Nagamatsu 2000; Baba 1997).  For instance, as regards the principal and interest redemption of local government bonds pertaining to expenses for post-disaster recovery, tax grants are allotted to cover 95% of the redemption of the principal and interest of the bonds for subsidized post-disaster recovery projects applicable to subsidized projects.  On the other hand, tax grants are allocated to cover only 47.5~85.5% of the principal and interest redemption of the bonds for unsupported post-disaster recovery projects that are applied to unsupported projects and the rest must be paid by the local public body.  Therefore, in the case of Hanshin-Awaji Great Earthquake many disaster relief measures projects of Hyogo prefecture were implemented as subsidized projects.  That is, there were not many projects implemented by the prefecture independently (Miyairi 1996).  Also, what can be said about emergency relief as well as major disasters is that the local public body does not use its own discretion to implement its own projects to meet its local features because there is a preset project menu (Baba 1997).  An additional problem is that each project is under the control of a different ministry/agency, thereby lacking efficient coordination among post-disaster rehabilitation and recovery projects.

  Reconstruction fund

  According to the Cabinet Office (2005), the Reconstruction Fund was established to “supplement the existing reconstruction measures in post-disaster recovery, carry out relief activities for and help the self-reliance of disaster victims, and facilitate steadily and dynamically comprehensive reconstruction measures in disaster-stricken areas from a long-term perspective.”  In many cases an organization founded by the local public body assumes the responsibility of managing the Reconstruction Fund and implementing measures for reconstruction.  A financial source of the Reconstruction Fund is donations as well as funds invested by local public bodies and loans.  However, the basic mechanism depends, in fact, upon financial assistance from the national government as tax grants.  That is, the following mechanism has been built among local public bodies, financial institutions and the Reconstruction Fund (Hayashi 2005).

  1) The local public bodies of disaster-stricken areas (under the leadership of the prefectural government) issue bonds underwritten by financial institutions.

  2)  The funds raised by the bond issue are lent with no interest to or invested in the Reconstruction Fund that is established as a foundation.

  3) The Fund buys the bonds from the financial institutions with the funds and receives interest on bonds from the local public bodies, which is used as funds for projects.

  4) The national government provides a large portion of interest on the bonds as local tax grants.

  It may appear a complex mechanism, but the underlying scheme is that the prefectural government issues local bonds for reconstruction and “gives” them to the Reconstruction Fund, which is, in turn, able to receive interest on the local government bonds paid by the prefecture.  The national government pays the amount equivalent to the interest by local tax grants, thereby reducing the financial burden of the prefectural government.  There will be no risk involved for financial institutions that underwrite the local government bonds because the Reconstruction Fund buys the same amount which is equal to the amount underwritten by the financial institutions.

  In this manner, the post-disaster recovery projects carried out by the Reconstruction Fund are supported with tax grants.  An important point is that there is no restraint on the projects implemented by the Reconstruction Fund, which is different from the case in which the national government or the prefectural government carries out such projects.  That is, when the national, prefectural or municipal government implements a project, its target is limited by the regulations as can be seen from the case of the Disaster Relief Law.  However, the operating fund of the Reconstruction Fund comes from return on assets that have been received through investment.  Hence, necessary projects for reconstruction can be quickly implemented without being bound by the regulations.

  Accordingly, the measures to be carried out by using the Reconstruction Fund are left to the discretion of local public bodies.  In the past, the following projects were implemented.

  1. Projects to assist the stabilization of the livelihoods and self-reliance of victims and increase health and welfare

  2. Projects to assist the reconstruction of houses such as rebuilding of victims’ houses

  3. Projects to assist industrial reconstruction such as reopening of business among afflicted small to medium-sized enterprises

  4. Projects to assist educational and cultural reconstruction such as rebuilding of afflicted private schools

  5. Projects that contributes to early and comprehensive reconstruction of disaster-stricken areas

  It is believed that the Reconstruction Fund, if it is managed by foundation, is desirable for implementing projects that extend over a period of several years when taking into account its continuity. 

  Thus, the Reconstruction Fund provides the local public body of disaster stricken areas with a source of mobile funds that can be used with due discretion, but it is also obvious that its projects are often overlapped with many other measures carried out amidst rehabilitation and reconstruction activities.  For example, the governments take a wide range of measures for rehabilitation and reconstruction such as payment of temporary house repair expenses and provision of temporary housing as part of emergency relief, granting of cash to victims under the Program for Socioeconomic Rehabilitation Aid for Victims, and special subsidies to agriculture, forestry and fisheries and also small to medium-sized enterprises under the Major Disaster System.  The Reconstruction Fund carries out many similar projects to these measures.

  In the case of the Niigata Chuetsu Earthquake, the following programs were enforced: Socioeconomic Rehabilitation Aid for Victims System by the national and prefectural governments, the Livelihood Protection Loan Program (State), House Reconstruction Loan Program for Disaster Victims (Prefecture), and provision of public housing.  At the same time, the Reconstruction Fund implemented the financial support program for interest on loans for house reconstruction, the financial support program for public housing rents, the financial support program for privately-owned housing rents and the program for assisting living in the relatives’ house.

  

  Ⅲ Disaster of the Niigata Chuetsu Earthquake

  This section looks at the conditions of damage retrospectively of the Niigata Chuetsu Earthquake that occurred on October 23, 2004 and its epicenter was at Kawaguchi-cho, Niigata prefecture.  The next section will explore in specifics how the financial support programs for rehabilitation and reconstruction that have been discussed above were put in practice in the aftermath of this earthquake.  The Condolence Grant Law is excluded from our discussion here because its target population is limited.

  The Niigata Chuetsu Earthquake of magnitude 7 at Kawaguchi-cho was an equally powerful earthquake to the Hanshin-Awaji Great Earthquake.  It did not strike a large city like Kobe and as a result involved a far less number of human victims than that of the Hanshin-Awaji Great Earthquake.  However, new problems were raised on disaster control measures such as isolation of sparsely populated areas where many older people lived by landslides in hilly and mountainous areas.

  The amount of damage directly caused by the Niigata Chuetsu Earthquake is estimated at 1,654.2 billion yen based on the assessed damage from public works expenditures.  Table 3 indicates the details of the direct damage.  As can be seen, the damage to buildings accounts for a significant portion of the total amount, i.e. 68.5%.  The damage to other facilities is \193.4 billion yen (11.7%) to public civil engineering facilities, \130.5 billion yen (7.9%) to agriculture, forestry and fisheries facilities, \78.1 billion yen (4.7%) to commerce-related facilities (4.7%) and \62.5 billion yen (3.9%) to railways.  The damage to other facilities account for merely 1% of the total amount.

  Thus, the damage to buildings accounted for the largest portion of the total amount in the Niigata Chuetsu Earthquake.  Its breakdown includes \638.9 billion yen to housing and \494.9 billion yen to non-residential housing including public buildings, factories and garages.  That is, both residences and non-residential buildings were heavily damaged.  The amounts of damage have been calculated from the reconstruction costs of damaged buildings.  The damage to general roads was 91.1 billion yen among public civil engineering facilities.  Its breakdown includes \49.8 billion to prefecture-owned roads, \25.6 billion to municipality-owned roads, \15.7 billion to state-owned roads, and \24.6 billion to expressways.  The damage to rivers amounted to \19.4 billion, which included all the rivers under the control of the national, prefectural and municipal governments, and the measures to address the blocked road along River Imokawa cost 8.6 billion yen.  In total, the prefectural government’s financial burden amounted to 27 billion yen.  The damage to agricultural crops was rather limited because the earthquake struck after harvests.  On the other hand, the damage to agricultural infrastructure including water canals for agricultural use, farm roads and forestry roads accounted for the largest portion, 94.8 billion yen.  The damage to farmlands amounted to 15.6 billion yen.  The carp farming was a large industry at Yamakoshi-mura and Ojiya-shi, and the damage to fisheries amounted to 6.5 billion yen.  The amount of damage to the livestock industry including bull fighting was one billion yen.

  

  

  Table 3: Comparisons between Niigata Chuetsu Earthquake

  and Hanshin-Awaji Great Earthquake

  Facilities, etc. Chuetsu Earthquake (component ratio) Hanshin-Awaji (component ratio)

  1 Buildings 11,338 (68.5) 58,000 (58.4)

  2 Railroads 625 (3.9) 3,439 (3.5)

  3 Public civil engineering facilities, etc. 1,934 (11.7) 18,525(18.7)

  (1) Expressways 249 (1.5) 5,500 (5.5)

  (2) State-owned roads and rivers, etc.  237 (1.4) 2,961 (3.0)

  (3) Prefecture-owned roads & rivers, etc. 652 (3.9) 

  (4) Municipality-owned roads, etc. 440 (2.7) 

  (5) Landslides 356 (22) 

  (6) Ports  10,000 (10.1)

  (7) Reclaimed land  64 (0.1)

  4 Cultural and educational facilities 172 (1.0) 3,352 (3.4)

  5 Agricultural, forestry and fisheries facilities  1,305 (7.9) 1,181 (1.2)

  6 Health & medical, and welfare facilities  15 (0.1) 1,733 (1.7)

  (1) Prefectural hospitals 1 

  (2) Medical institutions 6 

  (3) Social welfare facilities 8 

  7 Water supply facilities 38 (0.2) 541(0.6)

  8 Electricity and gas facilities 89 (0.5) 4,200 (4.2)

  9 Communications and broadcasting facilities 32 (0.2) 1,202 (1.2)

  10 Commerce and industry-related facilities 781 (4.7) 6,300 (6.3)

  11 Other public facilities 13 (0.1) 795 (0.8)

  12 Others 200 (1.2) 

  Total 16,542 (100.0) 99,268(100.0)

  (Source) Records and Compilation Committee for Niigata Chuetsu Great Earthquake (2006)

  

  Table 4: Damage caused by the Niigata Chuetsu Earthquake

  Municipality The number of deaths The number of the wounded Residential damage Non-residential buildings

  (in number)

  House Household 

  Nagaoka-shi 12 2108 49381 55798 11206

  Former Yamakoshi-mura, Nagaoka-shi 5 25 748 681 828

  Mitsuke-shi 3 514 9917 10017 10427

  Ojiya-shi 19 785 10892 12466 5127

  Kawaguchi-cho 6 62 1393 1601 1460

  Tokamachi-shi 8 557 12194 12202 154

  Kashiwazaki-shi 0 65 4906 4959 1063

  Total 67 4795 120746 129255 40346

  Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake 6432 43792 512882 460355 4848

  (Note) Residential damage includes houses totally destroyed, partly but extensively damaged, and partially damaged.  However, the residential damage caused by the Hanshin-Awaji Great Earthquake includes only totally destroyed and partly but extensively damaged houses.

  (Source) Prepared by the authors from the Niigata prefecture’s data

  The breakdown of the damage to other facilities includes \35.4 billion to plants and production equipment and \40 billion to stores, etc. among the commerce-related facilities.  The restoration of the railroads including the Shin-kansen lines and tunnels cost 62.5 billion yen and 17.2 billion yen to cultural and educational facilities.

  When compared to the damage caused by the Hanshin-Awaji Great Earthquake, in the Niigata Chuetsu Earthquake the component ratios of buildings and agricultural, forestry and fisheries facilities are high, whereas those of public civil engineering facilities and commerce and industry-related facilities are low.  In particular, the damage to the agricultural, forestry and fisheries facilities was 130.5 billion yen, which exceeded a damage amount of 118.1 billion yen in the Hanshin-Awaji Great Earthquake.  The reason was that the Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake was a gigantic earthquake that struck the ports and cities, whereas the Niigata Chuetsu Earthquake was a gigantic earthquake that struck primarily hilly and mountainous areas.

  Table 4 indicates damage to persons and housing: 67 persons killed, 4,795 persons wounded from slightly to severely, 120,746 residences damaged, 129,255 households afflicted, and 40,346 non-residential buildings damaged.  Viewing the loss of lives by municipality, Ojiya-shi comes first with 19 persons killed followed by the former Nagaoka-shi, Tokamachi-shi and Kawaguchi-cho, and the former Yamakoshi-mura area in Nagaoka-shi with twelve persons, eight persons, six persons and five persons killed respectively.  Out of the 67 deaths, sixteen persons were killed under the rubble of destroyed houses, etc., and the remaining persons passed away due to physical and psychological fatigue in the aftermath of the earthquake.

  With respect to displaced residents, the number of the displaced peaked to approximately 103,178 persons in 36 municipalities on October 26, 2004 and on December 21 the persons staying at shelters became zero.  An evacuation warning or instruction continued until November 23, 2006 in 22 municipalities involving 24,607 households.  On the other hand, in Nagaoka-shi, as of March 16, 2007 people from 141 households in the former Yamakoshi-mura in Nagaoka-shi took shelter away from their home village, but on April 1, 2007 the evacuation warning was called off and there were no persons staying at the shelters.

  

  Ⅳ Niigata Chuetsu Earthquake and rehabilitation and reconstruction systems

  IV-1.  Application of the Disaster Relief Law

  The Disaster Relief Law was applied to 54 municipalities on October 23, 2004 in the aftermath of the Niigata Chuetsu Earthquake.  The costs of relief activities amounted to approximately \22,547.1 million in total, the breakdown of which includes \22,468.4 million in fiscal 2004 and \78.7 million in fiscal 2005.  The expenses related to temporary housing will be paid in this and next fiscal years.  Viewed from the actual costs by type of relief activities in fiscal 2004, \16,840.1 million was spent for providing emergency temporary housing, \3,151.7 million for temporary repairs of houses, \824.31 million for providing foods through cooking at emergency kitchens and others, and \1.688.29 million for establishing shelters.  In fiscal 2005 the expenses required to rent privately-owned residences as emergency housing amounted to 78.7 million yen.  In fiscal 2006 it is anticipated to pay the expenses pertaining to extension fees for prolonging the lease of emergency housing and rentals of privately-owned houses to let.  In the case of Niigata Chuetsu Earthquake cash was paid to cover the expenses for temporary repairs up to \600,000 per household.

  

  

  

  Table 5: Application of the Disaster Relief Law

  Category FY2004 FY2005

  Provision of temporary housing  \16,841,100,000  \78,700,000

  Temporary repairs of houses    3,151,700,000  

  Provision of foods by cooking at emergency kitchens and others    8,243,100,000  

  Establishment of shelters    1,688,290,000  

  Total   22,468,400,000  \78,700,000

  Emergency temporary housing had been originally planned for a period of two years from the setting date, but it was extended to June 30, 2007 for approximately 1,500 houses after discussions with the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.  As of March 16, 2007, 3,650 houses are still being provided in total.  In extending the period, the costs to extend the lease period would be shared based on the Disaster Relief Law.

  As noted above, in principle the prefectural government carries out relief activities and pays their expenses.  However, depending upon the paying capacity, the national government may share the expenses.  In the Niigata Chuetsu Earthquake the prefectural government carried out specific measures pertaining to emergency temporary housing and other houses

  Temporary repair program in Niigata prefecture

  The prefectural government instituted its own system to address the issue of temporary repairs of houses.  The system was characterized by easier accessibility to disaster victims than the Disaster Relief Law.  For instance, an amount up to one million yen was paid without the ceiling of income and its office procedures were simplified so as not to take a long time.  An amount paid per household was up to one million yen for a partly but extensively damaged house and up to \500,000 for a partially damaged house and it was possible to add up a grant from the national government.  The amount paid totaled to \4,482 million.  The cases of temporary repairs of houses were 5,814 in the number finalized as of March 31, 2005 and 8,593 in the number finalized as of April 28, 2005 under the prefectural program.  The breakdown of the prefectural program included 47 cases for totally destroyed houses, 1,354 cases for partly but extensively damaged houses and 7,192 cases for partially damaged houses.

  IV-2.  Program of Socioeconomic Rehabilitation Aid for Victims

  About the Socioeconomic Rehabilitation Aid for Victims Law

  The Socioeconomic Rehabilitation Aid for Victims Law was applied to the entire region of Niigata prefecture on October 23, 2004.  The Niigata Chuetsu Earthquake was the first case to which the Law was applied as an earthquake disaster under the new program after the amendment to the Law.  As of January 31, 2007 the number of cases to be paid was 8,350, which cost \5,834,880 thousand in total.  The anticipated number of applications by household is approximately 1,800 (estimated by municipalities).  In all likelihood more applications will be received because there are still displaced households.

  The amendment of April 1, 2006 established an “exceptional case for households for which a warning has been called off after prolonged displacement.”  That is, the Law was amended to stipulate that “an amount of financial support up to \700,000 shall be paid to cover necessary expenses, such as moving and purchase or repairs of equipment/goods, to each household that moves back to the same municipality with the one where it used to live within two years after the warning has been called off when a period of three years or more has passed without an evacuation warning/instruction being called off (special expenses for long-term displaced households).”  In the case of the Niigata Chuetsu Earthquake, the number of households that were acknowledged as long-term displaced households was 1,301 at 44 districts in eight municipalities.  On December 28, 2004, 1,283 households had been approved as displaced households at 42 districts in seven municipalities including Yamakoshi-mura, and as of March 31, 2005, eighteen households were acknowledged as displaced households at four districts in three municipalities.

  About the Subsidies to the Program for Socioeconomic Rehabilitation Aid for Victims of the Niigata Chuetsu Earthquake

  The Niigata prefectural government established its own subsidy program called the Subsidies to the Program for Socioeconomic Rehabilitation Aid for Victims of the Niigata Chuetsu Earthquake.  The municipality pays one-third of the costs, whereas the prefectural government pays two-thirds.  The number of cases to be paid is 19,640 in total involving an amount of \10,197,480 thousand.  Its breakdown includes 7,066 cases costing an amount of \3,403.65 million in fiscal 2004, 9,765 cases costing an amount of \5,362,990 thousand in fiscal 2005, and 2,809 cases with an amount of \1,430,850 thousand in the period from April 2006 to January 2007 in fiscal 2006.  The amount is a sum which the target people have actually received.

  Table 6 shows an outline of the program.  The target household needs a disaster victim certificate issued by the mayor of a municipality where he/she lived at the time of disaster in order to receive approval as a target household.  What is different from the national Program of Socioeconomic Rehabilitation Aid for Victims is that the prefectural program has expanded the scope of the target households to include the households of which houses have been partly damaged.  At the same time, the upper limit has not been set as a standard income for households to be qualified to receive the subsidy.  That is, a household to which the national Program for Socioeconomic Rehabilitation Aid for Victims will not be applied will be qualified to receive the subsidy under the category of “Cases not applicable to the above.”  Also, it takes a long time to receive the subsidy under the national Program, whereas the prefectural program enables the government to pay the subsidy at the stage of estimate of budget requests to qualified households.  As the target expenses, a category was added to include the “expenses for the purchase or repairs of appliances/goods that are approved by the municipal mayor as necessary special expenses to reconstruct the living of victims.”  No receipts are required for this category, which means the money can be used for any purposes.  Similarly as for the housing-related expenses, the category of “remodeling expenses, etc. of the house in question where he/she lives” covers not only expenses for remodeling but also expenses for new construction.  Similarly, under the category of “expenses for the purchase or repairs of appliances/goods that are approved by the municipal mayor as necessary special expenses to reconstruct the living of victims,” the subsidy can be used for any purposes in practice.  Thus, the prefectural and municipal governments established a new program by revising the segments that made the national program not easily accessible.

  

  Table 6: Subsidies to the Program for Socioeconomic Rehabilitation Aid

  for Victims of the Niigata Chuetsu Earthquake

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  (Source) Prepared from the data of Niigata prefecture

  

  IV-3. Major Disaster System

  The Niigata Chuetsu Earthquake that occurred on October 23, 2004 was designated as a major disaster to which the Law concerning Special Financial Aid to deal with Major Disasters (hereinafter referred to as the Major Disaster Law) would be applied, and the decision was made by the Cabinet on November 26.  On December 1 the government ordinance was issued.  The seven municipalities including Oziya-shi were designated as localized major disaster areas on November 26, 2004 and February 22, 2005.  The national government allotted a supplementary budget amounting to approximately 96 billion yen under the Major Disaster Law.

  Table 7 shows the areas that are qualified for special financial aid and its contents according to the Major Disaster Designation Standards and the Localized Major Disaster Designation Standards.  The “Special financial support concerning post-disaster recovery of public civil engineering facilities (Chapter 2 – Articles 3 and 4),” the “Special measures for subsidies concerning post-disaster recovery projects including farmlands (Article 5)” and the “Special subsidies for post-disaster recovery of jointly used facilities for agricultural, forestry and fisheries purposes (Article 6)” have designated more than 20 municipalities as major disaster areas.  The content of the measures is primarily to increase the rate of subsidy from the national treasury.  Under the “Subsidies to post-disaster recovery project for public social and educational facilities (Article 16),” “Subsidies to post-disaster recovery projects for private school facilities (Article 17),” “Exceptional case of financial support concerning infectious disease control projects implemented by municipality (Article 19),” and “Exceptional case of subsidies for public housing construction, etc. projects for victims (Article 22),” the national government provides the prefecture and the managing entity with subsidies to cover the expenditures for the relevant projects.  Under the “Inclusion of the principal and interest redemption of small-scale disaster bonds in an amount of standard financial demand (Article 24),” the principal and interest redemption of local government bonds issued in conjunction with the expenses to which the above measures are not applied can be included in the standard financial demand.

  In the case of the Niigata Chuetsu Earthquake some areas were designated as localized disaster areas.  The contents and targets of the measure are indicated in Table 7.  This measure was taken by each municipality when a given area that suffered serious damage but it did not meet the Major Disaster Designation Standards.

  IV-4. Establishment of the Reconstruction Fund

  In the case of the Niigata Chuetsu Earthquake, the Niigata Chuetsu Great Earthquake Reconstruction Fund was established with the aims of “supplementing the measures taken by the public administration to recover quickly from the damage caused by the Niigata Chuetsu Great Earthquake and facilitate steadily and dynamically comprehensive reconstruction measures for the self-reliance of its victims and for disaster-stricken areas from a long-term perspective, thereby regenerating disaster-stricken areas as appealing areas.” 

  As indicated by Table 8, it was founded on March 2, 2005, with a fiscal year from March 1 each year to the end of February of the following year.  Its Secretariat is staffed by the public employees of the prefectural government.  Return on assets is allotted to the internal management expenditure of the Foundation.  The operating assets consist of \300 billion borrowed from the prefectural government without interest and operated at an annual rate of 2.0%, thereby spending 6 billion yen per year, that is, 60 billion yen in ten years for the Reconstruction Fund projects.  The assignment of nominative claim is employed as a manner of investments.  The fund management scheme will be discussed in specifics later.  The refundable assets amount to \5,415 million which consist of the lottery for reconstruction and donations.

  

  

  Table 7: Main designations as major disaster in the Niigata Chuetsu Earthquake

  Measure Group designated Content of financial assistance

  (1) Major Disaster Designation Standards   

  Special financial support concerning post-disaster recovery of public civil engineering facilities (Chapter 2 – Articles 3 and 4) One prefecture and 26 municipalities To increase the rate of national subsidy: 71% → 92%

  Special measures for subsidies concerning post-disaster recovery projects including farmlands (Article 5) Notice #506-1: 26 municipalities

  Notice #560-2: 19 municipalities

  Notice #560-3: 4 municipalities To increase the rate of national subsidy: 84% → 92%

  Special subsidies for post-disaster recovery of jointly used facilities for agricultural, forestry and fisheries purposes (Article 6) 22 municipalities To increase the rate of national subsidy: 20% → 30%~90%

  Subsidies to post-disaster recovery project for public social and educational facilities (Article 16)   The national government pays two-thirds of the rehabilitation projects of public social and educational facilities to the prefecture.

  Subsidies for post-disaster recovery projects for private school facilities (Article 17)    The national government pays the half of the rehabilitation project of private school facilities to the prefecture.

  Exceptional case of financial support concerning infectious disease control projects implemented by the municipality (Article 19)   The national and prefectural governments share 1/3 and 2/3 respectively of the expenses for infectious disease control projects carried out by the municipality.

  Exceptional case of subsidies for public housing construction, etc. projects for victims (Article 22) 6 municipalities (only in Niigata pref., March 23, 2005) To increase subsidies: 2/3 at the time of general disaster → 3/4 at the time of a major disaster

  Inclusion of the principal and interest redemption of small-scale disaster bonds in an amount of standard financial demand (Article 24) Not notified To include in an amount of standard financial demand the principal and interest redemption of local government bonds permitted to issue to raise money for rehabilitation projects for small disasters to which the Sharing Law and the Temporary Measures Law are not applied.

  (2) Localized Major Disaster Designation Standards (Localized Major Disaster)   

  Exceptional case of disaster-related guarantee under the Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Credit Insurance Law (Article 12)   

  Exceptional case of repayment period of loans under the Law on Financial and Other Assistance for Modernization of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (Article 13)   To establish a separate framework for the maximum insurance amount of credit insurance for small and medium-sized enterprises, to increase the compensatory rate, and to reduce the insurance premium rate

  (3) Special measures concerning disaster loans 7 municipalities (Feb. 22, 2005) To lower the interest rate on disaster loans by government-related small and medium-sized financial institutions

  (Source) Prepared by the authors from the date of Niigata Prefecture

  

  Table 8: Outline of the Niigata Chuetsu Great Earthquake Reconstruction Fund

  ○Established: March 1, 2005

  ○Assets of the Foundation

  ?Basic assets \5,000,000,000

  Usage Internal management expenses of the Foundation

  Return on assets Annual rate of 1.4% (Return on assets amounting to 7 million yen per year → Spending

  Manner of investment Purchase of local bonds

  ?Operating assets \300,000,000,000

  Method of procurement Loans with no interest from the prefectural government

  Usage Implementation of individual assistance projects

  Return on assets 2.0% per annum (\6 billion per annum – i.e. \60 billion yen in 10 years) → Spending)

  Manner of investments Assignment of nominative claim

  Refundable assets \5,415,000,000

  Lottery for reconstruction and donations

  ○ Operational situation of projects

  ?Public invitation of the projects by the Reconstruction Fund (menu)

  (1) The first invitation March 18 ~ April 8, 2005

  (2) The second invitation November 1 ~ November 15, 2005

  (Source) Prepared from the data of Niigata prefecture

  ?

  Table 9: Type and scale of the Reconstruction Fund Projects

  Area The number of projects Budget (in million)

  Project for socioeconomic rehabilitation aid for victims 27 6,543

  Project for employment measures  5 1,329

  Project for housing measures for victims 16 9,225

  Project for industrial measures 16 3,828

  Project for agricultural, forestry and fisheries measures 23 3,945

  Project for tourism measures 2 1,347

  Project for educational and cultural measures 6 580

  Records and public relations activities 3 185

  Assistance for regional reconstruction 2 120

  Total 100 27,102

  The Reconstruction Fund has been making efforts to implement projects that reflect the voices of disaster victims by publicly inviting suggestions to create a project menu to be implemented by the Reconstruction Fund.  As indicated by Table 8, the Fund started the first public invitation in March 2005 and began its second invitation one year after the disaster.  The number of the projects increased to over 100 in March 31, 2007.  The types and numbers of the projects by the Reconstruction Fund are shown in Table 9.  The projects for socioeconomic rehabilitation aid for victims have amounted to 6,543 million yen and the projects for housing aid measures for victims, 9,225 million yen, both of which account for a significant percentage.  This tells us that priority has given to the projects closely related to the livelihoods and housing of victims in the allocation of financial support.  The content of sector-based individual projects is primarily related to interest payment with financial support/subsidy.  Guarantee of liabilities are included in the project menu in the projects for housing support measures for victims, industrial measures and tourism promotion measures.  See the “Overview by Project” issued by Niigata prefecture for detailed information on the duration, purpose, content, and application method by project menu.

  The Reconstruction Fund for the Niigata Chuetsu Earthquake adopts the assignment of nominative claim as its scheme.  The scheme works in the following manner.

  

  Mechanism of the assignment of nominative claim scheme:

  1) The prefectural government borrows money by issuing bonds from banks at an annual rate of 2% to make a loan to the Reconstruction Fund.

  2) The national government pays 95% of 5/6 of its interest with tax grants.

  3) The prefectural government lends the money thus raised to the Reconstruction Fund with no interest.

  4) The Reconstruction Fund uses the loan from the prefecture to buy loan claims on the prefecture owned by the banks.

  5) The Reconstruction Fund owns loan claims on the prefecture, whereby 2% interest on the loan is transferred to the Fund

  .

  The Reconstruction Fund buys the loan claims, thus paying no commissions to banks.  The bonds are underwritten by three local banks including Taiko Bank, Ltd (with the main office at Nagaoka-shi). The Reconstruction Fund uses return on assets at an annual rate of 2% to implement its projects.

  According to a hearing survey, the municipal government acts as the contact office to accept an application upon the implementation of a project and checks its content.  After having confirmed the content, the municipal government submits the application to the prefectural government.  For instance, the continuation of the former Yamakoshi-mura posed a problem.  In such a case, it is necessary for the municipal government that knows well about the situation of the village to follow the issue.

  

  Ⅴ  Conclusion – Recapitulation and discussion towards reform

  This paper has summarized and examined various systems and programs by illuminating the roles played by financial support in rehabilitation and reconstruction at the time of disaster in chronological order of the application of various systems and programs from emergency measures in the immediate aftermath of a disaster to the subsequent process of rehabilitation and reconstruction.  We have briefly sketched and pointed out problems as to the Disaster Relief Law, the Condolence Grant Law, the Socioeconomic Rehabilitation Aid for Victims Law, the Major Disaster Designation and the Reconstruction Fund as aid measures.  (The Condolence Grant Law was excluded from our detailed discussion because its target population was limited.)  Below we first outline the results of our discussion and raise some issues for future debates towards reforms.  Then, based on the problems raised as to each system/program, we will take up a couple of problems common to the existing financial support measures.

  The first problem is that the present Disaster Relief Law is, in principle, limited to in-kind support.  Regardless of an urban district or a hilly/mountainous area, important is a view on what to do with the disaster victim’s place of residence.  Nonetheless, the present law places limitation on the place of residence, thereby making it difficult for disaster victims to reconstruct their lives in new places after the disaster.  Likewise, emergency temporary housing is offered free of charge except for utilities.  As a result, it becomes hard for the residents to leave their temporary houses once they have moved into them.  The past cases of disasters including the Niigata Chuetsu Earthquake have clearly demonstrated that the way in which temporary housing is offered will become increasingly important in an aging society.  Thus, the Disaster Relief Law needs a radical overhaul with particular emphasis on the methods of emergency measures such as “restoration to the original state” of a place of residence and the victim’s proper share of a rent of temporary housing. 

  Second, the Condolence Grant Law has a stipulation on cash payment as emergency financial support to a limited number of people as condolence money, disaster disability consolation payment and disaster relief fund.  In the case of the Hanshin-Awaji Great Earthquake, irrecoverable debts pose a problem in the debt collection of the disaster relief fund.  Triggered off by this Earthquake, demand for cash payment grew increasingly intense.  To meet the mounting demand, a variety of assistance measures were taken, as discussed in this paper.  The disaster relief fund was launched against the background of the times when there were no these programs.  Thus, it particularly needs a stringent review.  If the irrecoverable situation of the disaster relief fund continues, a sense of unfairness will be provoked among debtors, thereby posing and aggravating a moral hazard that it is not necessary to repay the debt.  Eventually, it will arouse doubts as to the significance of the program itself.

  Third, the Program for Socioeconomic Rehabilitation Aid for Victims that was amended in 2007 will not be able to deal with a large-scale disaster such as a near-field earthquake that may strike the Tokyo Metropolitan area.  For instance, the requirements on age and income have been abolished and a full amount of support money is paid as long as it is acknowledged that a house has been totally destroyed or partly but extensively damaged.  On the other hand, it is believed that the system will collapse when a large-scale earthquake occurs.  Considering possible confusion that will be created by such unsustainable system at the time of disaster, it is essential to carry out a drastic overhaul of the system.

  Fourth, the restoration under the Major Disaster Law is, in principle, restoration to the original state.  The rate of subsidy and its increase are variable depending upon the project.  Hence, in all likelihood some projects which are effective for quick recovery may not be implemented.  In fact, in the case of the Niigata Chuetsu Earthquake it was possible to receive special assistance under the Major Disaster Designation Standards and the Localized Major Disaster Designation Standards.  However, the rate of subsidy after being increased differed from one project to another, and projects were implemented in conformity to the principle of restoring the original state.

  Fifth, it is necessary for the reconstruction fund to increase its transparency concerning the questions like, what types of disaster necessitate establishing the fund or how its amount is decided.  Moreover, a special measure is taken to appropriate local tax grants to the income of the reconstruction fund at each time when it is established.  This way of establishing the fund also needs improvements.  As for the projects carried out by the reconstruction fund, a problem is that they are often overlapped with other emergency relief measures and rehabilitation and reconstruction projects.  In fact, in the Niigata Chuetsu Earthquake, the Niigata Chuetsu Great Earthquake Reconstruction Fund was set up.  Its project menu included similar systems and programs that were implemented in emergency relief measures and rehabilitation measures.

  Thus far, we have summarized the result of our analytical exploration as to the present financial aid systems and programs at the time of disaster in Japan.  By way of concluding this paper, we will raise two problems with the existing systems and programs beyond each individual system.  The first problem is that the roles of the government at the time of disaster, including requests for retroactive application of measures, have been discussed only after a disaster had taken place to address disaster relief measures.  This approach lacks a viewpoint of deciding the way that the government’s assistance should be at the time of disaster before a disaster takes place in order to enhance preparedness for disasters through concerted efforts with individuals, enterprises and local public bodies.  We have learned through the past earthquake disasters that the keys to disaster mitigation lie in the measures to increase earthquake-resistant houses and buildings and measures for older people.  We believe that the most important issue is to establish the basic principles underlying financial assistance so as to make the measures taken at the time of disaster more effective.

  The second problem is that the systems and programs formulated by the national government are universally applied to every disaster regardless of its scale and to any region without even discussing about such issues.  As has been pointed out in this paper, it is impossible to discuss at the same level a disaster that strikes a hilly and mountainous area and an earthquake that strikes the metropolitan area.  It is essential for the local public body to build prior consensus with residents and enterprises as to the process of rehabilitation and reconstruction including the prioritization of issues related to rehabilitation and reconstruction.  We will not be able to avoid confusion at the time of disaster however carefully prepared we may be.  In order to minimize such confusion to the best of our ability, we need tailor-made financial aid systems and programs depending upon the scale and place of a disaster instead of ready-made programs in order to achieve rehabilitation and reconstruction that will lead to economic development after the disaster.

 
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