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Emergency Budget Announced for Japanese Quake Victims

David McAlpine |
April 22, 2011 | 3:29 p.m. PDT

Executive Producer

Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan (photo via Creative Commons)
Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan (photo via Creative Commons)
The Japanese government announced Friday a nearly $50 billion budget for emergency spending in an effort to rebuild parts of the country following last month's devastating 8.9/9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami.

The government announced the $48.5 billion in earmarks as another earthquake, this time a 5.6 magnitude, shook the already heavily damaged Fukushima Prefecture. The Japanese parliament is expected to pass the budget sometime next week.

Japanese officials said the emergency budget is just the start of spending the government is expected to do on rebuilding and revitalizing northeastern Japan, where more than 13,000 people still remain missing and damages run an estimated $300 billion. 

The budget is planned to help provide temporary housing for victims, as well as help with rebuilding infrastructure and give banks more opportunities to give out cash loans.

The Wall Street Journal reported:

"This is the first step toward recovery and reconstruction, the first step for Japan to start again," Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda told reporters, adding that the budget would be submitted to parliament April 28. It is expected to be enacted early next month.

Noda said that as a initial package, the budget was big enough, pointing out that it was four times the size of a similar budget compiled after the 1995 Kobe earthquake.

“We all share the hope that reconstruction does not mean a return to where we were, but the building of a brighter future,” Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan said at a news conference Friday.

“I feel it was my fate to be prime minister at a time of great adversity," he said.



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