Japans cabinet approved on Friday almost $50 billion of spending for post-earthquake rebuilding, a downpayment on the countrys biggest public works effort in six decades.
The emergency budget of 4 trillion yen $48.5 billion, which is likely be followed by more reconstruction spending packages, is still dwarfed by the overall cost of damages caused by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, estimated at $300 billion.
"With this budget, we are taking one step forward toward reconstruction … and toward restarting the economy," Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda told reporters after a cabinet meeting.
Unpopular Prime Minister Naoto Kan, under fire for his handling of the crisis, said Japan would have to issue fresh government bonds to fund extra budgets to come, and suggested he would stay on to oversee the process.
Read the rest of the story: Japan earmarks first $50 billion for post-quake rebuild.
Japan’s nuclear crisis is slowly stabilizing and the country must now focus on repairing the damage wrought by the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck the northeast coast a month ago, Prime Minister Naoto Kan said.
He was speaking shortly after new data showed more radiation leaked from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in the early days of the crisis than first thought.
That new information put Japan’s nuclear calamity in the same category as the world’s worst nuclear disaster, Chernobyl, officials said, but the upgrade in its severity rating to the highest level on a globally recognized scale did not mean the situation had suddenly become more critical.
"The situation at the Fukushima Daiichi plant is slowly stabilizing, step by step, and the emission of radioactive substances is on a declining trend," Kan told a press briefing.
"A month has passed. We need to take steps toward restoration and reconstruction."
via Japan says nuclear crisis stabilizing, time to rebuild.