New Komeito post-quake initiatives being adopted

March 20 , 2011

March 20: New Komeito has been actively proposing initiatives to Prime Minister Naoto Kan to improve his government’s overall response to and management of the crisis following the March 11 mega-quake and tsunami. Two of the latest proposals that have been adopted to date are:

・Posting Japanese sign-language interpreters at televised press conferences by Prime Minister Kan and his senior ministers for hearing-challenged audiences. This came about after numerous citizens asked New Komeito House of Councillors member Hirotaka Ishikawa over the Twitter social networking service that deaf people should be informed of the latest announcements issued by the government. Ishikawa reported the need to New Komeito Chief Representative Natsuo Yamaguchi, who briefed Kan and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano, the top government spokesperson.

・ Dispatching a German-made concrete pump vehicle equipped with a 52-meter arm to the damaged nuclear power plant in Fukushima, where specially equipped fire engines and Self-Defense Force fire trucks are trying to cool the spent fuel rods that have been exposed and are leaking radiation in several of the nuclear reactors at the complex. New Komeito was brought to the attention of the German Putzmeister vehicle on March 18 and told that it could also inject water at a higher angle than the fire engine with a 22-meter hose extension used by the Tokyo Fire Department. Yamaguchi then informed the prime minister, who asked Putzmeister to brief Tokyo Electric Power Company, the plant operator. TEPCO agreed that the “pumper” could serve as an effective tool and requested that the vehicle be sent to the power plant. [NOTE: The Putzmeister was deployed at the No. 4 reactor unit and has since proven itself as an effective temporary cooling system.]

New Komeito has also asked the government to develop an arrangement in which people who have lost their personal identification stamp and documents can withdraw funds from their own bank accounts.