In September 1995, Hyogo Prefectural Government (Hyogo) established a housing reconstruction mutual aid system. In return for a small contribution, a fixed-amount benefit is given to the owner of a house if it is damaged by a disaster or fire caused by a disaster. In 2007, Hyogo introduced a reconstruction mutual aid system in which even a condominium management association is able to enrol for its common spaces. In 2010, a mutual aid system for household goods was introduced. Hyogo has been upgrading the system by establishing, in August 2014, the “Partial Damage Special Provisions,” which broadened the scope of the housing reconstruction mutual aid system’s benefit payment targets to include partially-damaged houses (with a damage ratio of 10% or more).
HFA Priority 4
Housing reconstruction system: Hyogo Mutual Aid System for Housing Reconstruction (Phoenix Mutual Fund)
While many citizens lost their homes due to the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake (GHAE), the local community had not been well-prepared for a major earthquake disaster at the time, and any public assistance to disaster victims had been limited to loan and interest subsidies, For housing reconstruction, the principle was a self-supported effort. Housing reconstruction requires a large amount of funds; self-supported efforts and public assistance, however, are limited. Hyogo established the housing reconstruction mutual aid system, based on the understanding that housing represents an important foundation for recovery. Although the Act on Support for Livelihood Recovery of Disaster Victims came into effect in 1998, it was not effective enough to support housing reconstruction. To address the situation, the Hyogo government recommended the introduction of a scheme for mutual help among house owners and a new mutual aid system was established in September 2005 .
Based on the recognition that it was extremely difficult for disaster victims to reconstruct their houses by their own efforts, Hyogo called on the national Government to establish a state-run housing reconstruction mutual aid system enrolling all house owners starting from 1995, the year of the GHAE. This proposal failed to materialize. Although the Act on Support for Livelihood Recovery of Disaster Victims was established and payment of cash benefits to individual disaster victims was implemented, it was not sufficient as housing reconstruction support. Under such circumstances, Hyogo decided to establish a housing reconstruction mutual aid system targeting all existing houses in the prefecture making Hyogo the first prefecture in Japan to do so. .
This housing reconstruction mutual aid system has so far paid benefits of around 500 million yen to people who suffered disaster damage, such as after the 2009 typhoon disaster. A certain level of results for life environment recovery of victims and restoration in the disaster-affected area at an early stage has been achieved.
This system was characterized by the fact that:
- It covered all types of natural disasters;
- Any person enrolled in an earthquake insurance or other mutual aid plan is allowed to enroll in the system and become eligible to receive the benefits;
- Any enrollee is allowed to receive a fixed-amount of benefits based on fixed-amount contributions regardless of the age and size of the house. This led to sincere words of thanks to the system from some of the enrollees who received benefits.
- As of the end 2013, the number of households enrolled in this system stood at 159,313, representing 9.0 % of all households (13.1% of single family house households) in the prefecture.
Potential for replication
This system is useful as a “mutual aid” scheme filling gaps created by the limitations of self-supported efforts and public assistance. In the case of any attempts to implement this system in other countries, however, it is necessary to consider that nation’s circumstances because different countries have different kinds of housing ownership structures and housing reconstruction assistance systems.
Information of Contact Person
Mr. Masahiko Murata – Director, Research Department
Disaster Reduction and Human Renovation Institution (DRI)
1-5-2 Wakinohama-kaigandori, Chuo-ku, Kobe, 651-0073, Japan
Tel: +81-78-262-5065 / Fax: +81-78-262-5082
Mr. Naoki Nakatsu
Chief, Disaster Management Project Planning Division
Disaster Management & Planning Bureau
Civil Policy Planning & Administration Department
5-10-1 Shimoyamate-dori, Chuo-ku, Kobe, Hyogo, 650-8567, Japan
Tel: +81-78-362-9870 / Fax: +81-78-362-9914