Abe Plans To Declare Hagibis A 'severe Disaster'

Abe plans to declare Hagibis a 'severe disaster'

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says his government is planning to designate Typhoon Hagibis a "severe natural disaster," in order to increase state subsidies for reconstruction work in affected regions.

Abe spoke at a session of the Upper House Budget Committee on Tuesday morning. Lawmakers observed a moment of silence for the victims of the typhoon that ravaged the country over the weekend.

Abe said his government is also exploring the possibility of making 315 municipalities eligible for "severe disaster" provisions, to help authorities carry out urgent repair work without financial concern.

The prime minister acknowledged the typhoon may have a prolonged impact on peoples' daily lives and economic activities.

He said a cross-ministerial team will proactively support efforts to restore water and power supplies. Steps will also be taken to provide water, food, cardboard beds and other relief supplies to improve conditions at evacuation shelters and also help rehouse the displaced.

An opposition lawmaker asked the prime minister what he thinks about remarks made by a top official of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party on typhoon damage. Secretary General Toshihiro Nikai said that the damage was "fairly contained."

Abe declined to comment on the remarks, saying he was not aware of the details. But he said his government dealt with the disaster with a sense of vigilance even before it struck and is doing its best to save as many lives as possible. He added: "We never tolerate any level of damage."