Typhoon Hagibis, known in Japan as the season’s 19th storm, left more than 80 people dead and brought record rain that caused 71 rivers to burst their banks, flooding tens of thousands of homes and large areas of farmland in 13 prefectures.
I have the feeling that the Japanese archipelago seems to have entered a completely abnormal weather cycle in which unexpected disasters are the norm.
With the provision of governmental relief based on strict damage assessment procedures, the official response is inevitably delayed. Given such, The Nippon Foundation announced on October 17 that it will provide 5 billion yen in emergency relief for people hit by the typhoon, which struck central and eastern Japan from October 12 to 13.
The Nippon Foundation has been involved in disaster response and recovery operations more than 60 times, beginning with the major earthquake that devastated Kobe in 1995.
Based on past experience, we decided to give priority to supporting volunteers to be sent to the affected regions and helping nurseries, kindergartens, primary, middle and high schools, and other educational institutions.
According to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, 1,734 schools and institutions, including colleges and universities, were damaged by the typhoon, of which about 300 were closed as of October 15. If nurseries and schools are reopened, the burden on parents would be alleviated considerably.
Assuming more schools will be reported damaged, we have earmarked 2 billion yen−up to one million yen each−for 2,000 schools. The money will be spent on books, physical education equipment and musical instruments for the affected schools.
In the aftermath of Typhoon Hagibis, the media have often reported on pupils cleaning up their damaged schools. If they contribute in this way, it will naturally encourage their love for their schools and the local communities they live in as well as foster a spirit of self-reliance. To assist their clean-up efforts, we set aside 500 million yen, that is, up to 500,000 yen each for 1,000 schools.
I believe that at a time when unexpected, unusual weather events are happening with more frequency, cherishing such volunteerism is the key to our disaster preparedness.
In addition, our relief will cover payment of condolence money (100,000 yen per person) to the family members of those who died as a result of the flooding and landslides, the installation of 500 temporary, hygienic toilets at evacuation centers and assistance to volunteer groups−including those students and athletes with whom the foundation has built a good working relationship after years of cooperating together.
Typhoon Hagibis has struck wide-ranging areas of Japan, with each facing their own specific problems. It is my sincere hope that media organizations will continue to conduct thorough reporting on each of the affected local communities and keep us informed.
I announced 5 billion yen in emergency relief for those hit by Typhoon Hagibis during a press conference held at The Nippon Foundation in Tokyo on October 17, 2019.
A road remains flooded in Nagano City, Nagano Prefecture, central Japan,
more than a week after the typhoon hit the area.