TOKYO (Nikkei)–The upper house unanimously approved a special law Friday morning that allows the central government to clear up earthquake debris on behalf of local governments.
The law also increases government subsidiaries for cleanup efforts, raising the amount of assistance from 90% of the total cost to an average of 95%, so that reconstruction efforts move ahead faster.
The job of removing debris is in principle supposed to be undertaken by municipal governments, but the amount of waste still remaining in the hard-hit coastal areas of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures is far more than what local authorities can handle. In some areas, no work is even being done.
The new law allows the central government to take over the collection, transport and disposal of debris upon the request of municipal leaders. The bill was submitted jointly by the government and members of four opposition parties, including the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito.
The ruling and opposition camps agreed Monday to raise the subsidy rate.
They also included an additional clause that enables afflicted municipalities to use the local allocation tax to secure financial resources.
The revised bill passed the lower house Thursday.