Japan Plans Special Tax Revenue Grants and Subsidies

The Japanese government is considering covering all reconstruction costs for northeastern areas hit by the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and subsequent huge tsunami on March 11, it was learned Sunday.

The government plans to boost special tax revenue grants and subsidies to affected areas, informed sources said.

Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Yoshihiro Katayama said in a television program Sunday that the central government will make efforts to keep local government costs for postquake reconstruction as low as zero. The government will increase special tax revenue grants by far more than 30 billion yen, he said

The tax grants increase will likely be financed by a supplementary budget for fiscal 2011 starting on Friday.

The government increased tax revenue grants by about 30 billion yen to support reconstruction after the 1995 great earthquake that flattened the western Japan city of Kobe and nearby areas. While the 1995 quake claimed the lives of more than 6,000 people, the death toll from the latest huge quake and tsunami has already topped 10,000.

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