Japan earthquake: Local businesses take steps forward

Reconstruction continues on the Noto Peninsula following the New Year’s Day earthquake. Local businesses are gradually resuming operations, while Ishikawa Prefectural officials have started outlining a recovery plan for the region.

Miyamoto Tetsuya has been farming oysters for more than three decades in Nanao City in the prefecture. On New Year’s Day, Miyamoto’s farm was severely damaged by the quake, and he could produce less than 10 percent of the usual amount.

“Now is the best season for oysters and being unable to farm them is a big problem for me,” Miyamoto says.

Due to the huge loss, he thought of closing the business…but he decided against it because his son Takahiro was planning to take over the business in the future.

“I think we have to work hard now…and eventually I want to grow oysters just like my father,” Takahiro says.

Oyster farmer Miyamoto Tetsuya and his son Takahiro resolve to continue farming despite the severe damage caused by the recent earthquake.

Business activities are also gradually resuming in the traditional crafts sector, but challenges remain.

Wajimaya Zen-ni has been manufacturing and selling lacquerware in the prefecture’s Wajima City for over 200 years.

The New Year’s Day quake heavily damaged its workshop, and destroyed two warehouses. The company resumed production earlier this month by converting the old exhibition space into a workshop. However, many craftspeople evacuated the city and nearly half of them are still unable to return.

President Nakamuro Kojiro is concerned that if he cannot quickly establish an environment where the craftspeople can resume production, they may leave their jobs.

“I need to prevent skills from being lost. I want to bring my staff back as soon as possible,” Nakamuro says.

Wajimaya Zen-ni is resuming production gradually, but its president says nearly half of the company’s craftspeople have still not returned.

Ishikawa Prefectural government outlines ideas for recovery plan

The Ishikawa Prefectural government aims to come up with a recovery plan for the Noto region by around June.

On Thursday, prefectural officials and experts presented an outline of the plan, which involves promoting reconstruction. The aim is to further enhance the region’s brand, such as its traditional crafts, tourism, and the forestry and fisheries industries.

Ishikawa Prefectural officials and experts discuss the formulation of a development strategy.

They discussed the basic idea of ​​building disaster-resistant communities based on lessons learned from the recent earthquake.

The prefectural government plans to provide strong support to encourage local businesses in various sectors.

They also plan to speed up the development of temporary housing and support the restoration of cultural assets, including festivals, so residents can maintain bonds in their communities.

The Ishikawa officials say they will take concrete measures based on the outline.

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