• By The Financial District

20% OF LOCAL GOV’TS IN JAPAN HAVE NO DISASTER SPECIALISTS

Across Japan, 20.5% of municipalities have no officials exclusively tasked with handling disaster responses, a Kyodo News survey showed, ahead of the 10th anniversary of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that devastated northeastern Japan.

The survey also found that 14.1% of respondents have only one official for that particular task, with those in charge of elections, traffic safety and other duties doubling in those roles.


The results underscored the need for local governments -- despite a chronic staff shortage at their offices -- to build a system to more effectively respond to calamities in the disaster-prone country.


Kyodo conducted the poll from October to December, asking city, town and village governments nationwide how many officials they deploy exclusively to handle jobs related to natural disasters, including drawing up disaster response policies and issuing evacuation orders in case of disasters.


Among 1,469 municipalities that replied, 41.5 percent said they have two to five such disaster officials, followed by 15.4 percent with six to 10 and 8.2 percent with 11 or more. In contrast, 508 municipalities said they have no or only one official devoted to such duties.



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