Press Conference by Prime Minister Kishida on His Visit to Ishikawa Prefecture to Confirm the Situation of the Area Affected by the 2024 Noto Peninsula Earthquake

July 1, 2024

[Provisional translation]


(On Prime Minister Kishida's thoughts looking back on the six months that have passed since the Noto Peninsula Earthquake struck; on the future course towards recovery and reconstruction in concrete terms)
First, looking back on the half a year that has now passed since the earthquake struck, we began in January by doubling our general reserve funds. By taking fiscal measures in a flexible manner, including our use of more than 550 billion yen of our reserve funds across five tranches, including one approved this past Friday, June 28, the Government has worked as one to tackle the challenges of restoring infrastructure and lifeline services, securing housing, including temporary residences, and rebuilding people's livelihoods. And yet, I am aware that at the same time, there remain some areas where responses still need to be accelerated, including demolitions at public expense, plumbing repairs inside people's homes, and countermeasures to liquefaction.
Today, at Ishikawa Prefecture's Oku-Noto General Office inside the Noto Satoyama Airport, which is close to the area undergoing reconstruction, we launched the Noto Creative Reconstruction Task Force.
Through this Task Force, we will grasp the issues facing the disaster-struck areas more rapidly. Also, as for bottlenecks arising from institutional causes, we will exhibit a greater sense of speed and accelerate our actions, with all of Japan's ministries and agencies working together to respond to issues falling under the remit of multiple ministries and agencies.
Today I observed the situation here at Wakura hot springs, where the coastal revetments have suffered tremendous damage. I heard that the young business managers have devised a Creative Reconstruction Vision, despite being unable to run their businesses even now.
In line with a policy of becoming a center for exchange for Noto's Satoyama (mountains/forests located near agricultural or mountain villages) and Satoumi (coastal areas where biological productivity and biodiversity has increased through human interaction) as set out in this Vision, in addition to the national government acting on local governments' behalf to restore the disaster-damaged public works revetments, the Government intends to accelerate laying the foundation for reconstructing privately-owned revetments as well, including by transferring their ownership to local public entities and then redeveloping them.
Beyond that, in the area of tourism recovery, we will prioritize creating temporary local shopping areas and developing promotions to attract visitors, including support for events in the disaster-affected areas. Alongside this, while listening to the views of the people in the affected areas, we will move forward in putting into concrete form a subsidy program to bolster reconstruction, in which the Government subsidizes a sizeable 70 percent of certain costs incurred by visitors to the Noto region. We will press forward with those preparations now so that once reconstruction progresses, we can launch this program immediately. And again, today the Task Force also kicked off its activities.
Embracing the idea that we will do everything possible, an outlook we share in common with everyone whom this disaster has touched, we will continue our work to expedite the return of those displaced by the disaster while promoting the creative reconstruction of the disaster area.
(On support measures for clearing the hurdles surrounding the restoration of coastal revetments in working towards reconstruction, in light of the need to construct administrative roads in the case of the proposal to convert privately-owned revetments to public ownership and for the national government to then conduct repairs, which would cause difficulties for hotels and inns that would become farther removed from the shoreline)
I understand that the revitalization of Wakura hot springs, one of Japan's foremost hot springs locations, is one of the livelihood areas targeted for rebuilding in the Noto region. I intend to make use of every possible means to advance rebuilding, including demolitions funded entirely through the public purse, up to 1.5 billion yen in subsidies supporting livelihoods, and financial assistance from a national fund.
As for restoring privately-owned revetments through conversion to public ownership, the area under discussion is the central location for Wakura hot springs tourism and it is infrastructure that is absolutely essential for creative reconstruction. In view of this, the national government intends to stand at the fore and engage in appropriate responses, giving due consideration to the revetment restoration policy decided by the Wakura Hot Springs Revetment Restoration Council, where hotel and inn operators and other concerned parties work as one with the prefectural and municipal governments and other related entities.
Now, it is true that it will be necessary to have a road that would be as narrow as possible while allowing people to pass through for maintenance. However, based on the policy set forth by the Revetment Restoration Council, the area in question will also have to be compatible with use as a core location for tourism. From that standpoint, the national government will by all means also aim to respond in a manner consistent with this Creative Reconstruction Vision.

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