Photo/IllutrationAs floodwaters recede, the first floors of houses become visible on July 9 in the Mabicho district of Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture. (Mari Endo)

  • Photo/Illustraion

The torrential rain and landslides in western Japan will be categorized as a “serious disaster," the government decided July 9, guaranteeing increased financial aid for recovery efforts.

The designation at a Cabinet meeting will allow the rate of state aid to be lifted for recovery projects that local governments carry out.

“We will firmly set fiscal measures to help local governments deal fully with the emergency situation and the recovery with a sense of security,” said Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Abe also ordered an inter-agency victim support team to be set up to quickly deal with providing essential supplies and shelter in a fit-for-purpose environment, securing temporary housing, and dispatching emergency response workers.

An emergency task force was set up on July 8 and held its second meeting in the morning of July 9.

A government investigation team led by Hachiro Okonogi, state minister for disaster management, was sent to Okayama and Hiroshima prefectures on July 9.

Victims have been rescued by the 73,000 police officers, firefighters, Self-Defense Forces members and other personnel mobilized to assist in the affected areas.