Exempt low income citizens from repayment

May 15 , 2019

A Komeito team to alleviate disaster relief aid repayment for impoverished citizens met on May 14A Komeito team to alleviate disaster relief aid repayment for impoverished citizens met on May 14

A Komeito project team on reconstruction funding for the 1995 Kobe earthquake led by House of Representatives member Kazuyoshi Akaba and House of Councillors member Masaaki Taniai met on May 14, with the team endorsing a bill to exempt low-income residents in the area who received public financial assistance after the disaster.

Under proposed bill, aid recipients will be exempted from repayment if they earn less than 1.5 million a year after local taxes; lack tangible assets other than their homes and the land upon which they stand; and who have less than 200,000 yen in a savings account. It also provides municipalities the authority to absolve the guarantor of a disaster-relief loan the obligation of repaying any outstanding balance after ten years of its repayment period. Those filing for personal bankruptcy are equally exempted, as are individuals who have died or suffer from a severe disability. Municipalities have the right to investigate the assets and incomes of deliquent borrowers.

Of the 132.6 billion in financial assistance granted in 57,448 cases after the earthquake, 12.3 billion yen (8,400 cases) remain outstanding.

Given that many of those who are exemption eligible are the elderly or earn low incomes, Komeito has been working to resolve the issue. The party will be submitting the bill during the current Diet session while developing a broad, nonpartisan support for its passage.