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Saturday, Nov. 13, 2004

Tokyo to help with Miyake costs


Staff writer

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government will provide up to 1.5 million yen to each household on Miyake Island to help rebuild homes damaged by a volcanic eruption, metro government officials said Friday.

Residents of the island will start returning to their homes in February, when the village of Miyake lifts an evacuation order issued in September 2000.

Most homes are heavily damaged due to continued volcanic activity, Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara told a regular news conference Friday.

"The metro government judged that it is difficult for the villagers to rebuild their houses on their own," he said.

The central government pays each Miyake Island household of two or more people up to 3 million yen under the disaster relief law. But the use of this money is limited to tearing down damaged homes and leveling the sites because public funds are not supposed to be used to rebuild private property.

The metro government took into consideration the islanders' severe financial situation; many of them are jobless and are depending on their savings to get by, the officials said.

Some 1,300 of the 1,900 households on the island are planning to return. The metro government will provide up to a total 2 billion yen to help rebuild their houses, they said.



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