TOKYO (Kyodo) — The land ministry on Wednesday started accepting applications nationwide for its housing eco-point incentive program, which is intended to support reconstruction in areas of northeastern Japan ravaged by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
The Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry will grant points to people anywhere in the country who construct or refurbish houses with eco-friendly features. The points can be exchanged for donations for, products from, or gift coupons for use in disaster-hit areas as well as other eco-friendly products.
Under the program, up to 150,000 points each for new home and 300,000 points for renovations will be granted depending on the work done, such as alternations to improve heat insulation. New homes constructed in the disaster-hit region or renovations to bolster quake resistance will earn additional points.
Each point is worth 1 yen, but applicants must use more than half the points they collect to exchange for either donations for or products from disaster areas, such as ox tongue from Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, and cold noodles from Morioka, Iwate Prefecture.
Work on new homes that begins between Oct. 21, 2011, and the end of October this year qualifies for the points program. Renovations to existing homes that start between Nov. 21 last year and the end of October 2012 are eligible for points.
The ministry ended a housing eco-point incentives program designed to tackle global warming last July, but has since restarted the program by expanding its scope to cover reconstruction in northeastern Japan.
(Mainichi Japan) January 25, 2012