Government to pay the total cost of evacuation in cases of unexploded ordnance disposal operations

November 20, 2011 Ryukyu Shimpo

On November 19, the Cabinet Office finalized support measures through which the Japanese central government pays all of the cost for private organizations and municipalities to evacuate people unable to move by themselves in cases of unexploded ordnance disposal operations in Okinawa Prefecture.
The Cabinet Office expanded the eligibility for having bomb disposal costs covered.
Tatsuo Kawabata, the State Minister in Charge of Okinawa Affairs, who visited Okinawa on November 19, informed Okinawa Governor Hirakazu Nakaima of this during their meeting at Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University.
Cases occurring in fiscal 2011 are also eligible for these measures, with the cost paid by the Ureshinogaoka-Samaritan Hospital when a U.S. military bomb found on the site of the hospital in the Arakawa District of Haebaru was disposed of in September being also included.

The government established the measures in order to safely evacuate people who are unable to evacuate by themselves mainly in cases when U.S. unexploded ordnance is disposed of on-site in hospitals and welfare institutions.
The government amended existing requirement guidelines, and had been investigating the situation based on requests from the municipalities following the case in Arakawa.

In cases of unexploded ordnance disposal operations, the costs incurred by private organizations and municipalities to evacuate people such as residents who need assistance from people other than family members, and residents receiving nursing care, can be covered by the support measures. Specifically, a.) cost of securing evacuation spaces and the installation and management of the spaces, b.) transporting evacuees to the spaces and c.) for staff needed for supporting evacuation, will be covered by the support measures. In addition, costs newly incurred by municipalities for evacuation beyond that for moving people unable to evacuate is also eligible to be covered.

Private organizations can apply through municipalities to utilize the measures and the total budget available for bomb disposal is about 1.6 billion yen. Costs incurred this fiscal year will be covered by the budget.

With regards to staff costs, only those for staff such as doctors and nurses employed at private organizations are eligible to be covered. The cost for staff employed by the prefecture and municipalities is estimated at eight million yen, and will be included in the approximately 2.3 billion yen requested for the next fiscal year. After his meeting with Kawabata, Nakaima said, “I am very pleased with these support measures. I thanked Minister Kawabata because I think that they will become permanent.”

(English Translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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