See More on Facebook

Analysis, Economics

Swift assistance needed to rehabilitate Hokkaido’s quake-stricken industries

To realize Hokkaido’s post-quake rehabilitation, it is indispensable to rebuild its industries.


Written by

Updated: September 25, 2018

A half month has passed since the Hokkaido earthquake, which registered the highest level on the Japanese seismic intensity scale of 7.

A power blackout that spread to all parts of the prefecture has been resolved. The No. 1 unit at the Tomato-Atsuma thermal power plant — a facility that plays a central role in the supply of electricity there — has been brought back on line. The government has withdrawn its request for power-saving, and neon lighting has returned to flourishing areas in Sapporo.

However, scars from the earthquake have not yet healed. Even if the amount of direct damage, including that caused to roads, rivers and forest land, is calculated alone, the figure exceeds ¥150 billion. There are still many disaster victims in evacuation centers.

The central and pertinent local governments should bolster their assistance measures so Hokkaido residents can promptly return to their lives before the earthquake.

First of all, it is essential to establish a system for a stable power supply. As it becomes more and more chilly from now on, electric power demand for heating and other activities will increase. Hokkaido Electric Power Co. should make quick efforts to resume operations at two suspended units at the Tomato-Atsuma power station.

The impact of the large-scale power failure extended even to areas distant from the quake’s focus. As electric milking machines could not be powered to use, a large number of cows developed mastitis. Unable to keep raw milk in cold storage, one dairy-farming household after another discarded the milk.

The earthquake dealt a major blow to the agriculture, forestry and fisheries industries in Hokkaido — the mainstay of the area’s industrial structure — including damage caused to agricultural facilities, irrigation and drainage canals. The amount of losses totals no less than ¥42 billion.

Assuage tourists’ concerns

As assistance measures for disaster-stricken areas that will be included in a supplementary budget for fiscal 2018, the government should implement effective steps, including low-interest loans to farming households.

The quake has also caused serious losses to Hokkaido’s tourism industry. They include cancellations of reserved accommodations for 940,000 people and reservations for 4,000 sightseeing buses. Among other things, cancellations of large-scale school excursions may have been a heavy blow. The loss of profits tied to accommodations, as well as at eating and drinking establishments, reaches a total of ¥29.2 billion.

In recent years, non-Japanese have accounted for 25 percent of the amount of money spent for tourism-related consumption in Hokkaido. Travelers from China, Taiwan and South Korea, who constitute a main portion of the total, are said to be sensitive to earthquakes. To prevent a reduction in the number of foreign tourists to Hokkaido, the Japan Tourism Agency and the prefectural government should increase efforts to dispatch information conducive to shaking off their anxiety.

The number of tourists dropped in the wake of the Hokkaido Nanseioki Earthquake in 1993 and the Mt. Usu eruption in 2000.

The hesitation felt about enjoying trips to Hokkaido in consideration of disaster victims’ feelings, as well as anxiety about an aftershock, is understandable. Nonetheless, tourism is an important industry for Hokkaido. If Hokkaido attracts fewer tourists, it will come as a dual blow to the prefecture. It is hoped that Hokkaido’s rehabilitation will be backed by recovering the bustling feel there to a pre-quake level.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has expressed his intention to quickly extend official assistance that discounts accommodation fees for travelers in all parts of Hokkaido. The government took similar steps in the wake of the Kumamoto Earthquake and torrential rains that struck western Japan. It is necessary to take every possible means.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


The Japan News
About the Author: The Japan News is published by The Yomiuri Shimbun, which boasts the largest circulation in the world.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Analysis, Economics

Vietnam to be among world’s most dynamic markets by 2030

The country has reached amazing levels of progress in the last two decades. With an emerging market economy and continued strong growth, Vietnam is set to become one of the most dynamic markets in the world by 2030, according to Euromonitor International, a global market research company. An Hodgson, Euromonitor International’s income and expenditure research manager, said the company’s research database showed that urbanisation, with the associated concentration of income, wealth and population, would propel Việt Nam’s commercial success by 2030. Published last month, the research database has found that Vietnam will be the third biggest urban market by consumer numbers and fifth biggest by total spending in Southeast Asia. By 2030, the country’s urban consumer market will expand to 46 million consumers and $169 billion worth of spending. GDP growth is expected to rea


By Viet Nam News
June 13, 2019

Analysis, Economics

Li pledges to improve business climate

Li Keqiang says China taking steps to open up economy to foreign businesses Premier Li Keqiang reaffirmed China’s commitment to improving its business environment by deepening reforms to streamline administration and carrying out large-scale tax cuts and fee reductions. Li said in a meeting on Tuesday with World Bank President David Malpass that the country will bring its business environment more in line with market principles, international standards and the rule of law as part of efforts to promote high-quality development. He noted China’s cooperation with the World Bank, which is in keeping with its steps in reform and opening-up and benefited the country’s growth. The global landscape is complex and fluid, and the Chinese economy is facing various risks and challenges, he said. Further cooperation between China and the World Bank will help promote poverty reduction, narrow


By China Daily
June 12, 2019

Analysis, Economics

Restrictions on Chinese firms could drive up 5G cost

China is increasing pressure on consumers in a bid to end restriction on its major tech firms. Europe would have to pay an extra 55 billion euros ($62 billion) for 5G networks and suffer an 18-month technology delay if it bans telecom equipment purchases from top Chinese manufacturers, according to an industrial report. The report by the GSM Association, which represents 750 mobile operators worldwide, said Ericsson, Nokia and Samsung, the non-Chinese contenders in the 5G market, do not have the capacity to handle all of the shift from 3G and 4G networks to 5G in Europe while honoring contracts already signed in North America and Asia. Huawei and ZTE account for about 40 percent of the EU market, and Huawei is “currently a pioneer in 5G technology”, according to the GSM analysis, first reported by Reuters and Agence France-Presse on Friday. “A ban on Chinese v


By China Daily
June 11, 2019

Analysis, Economics

Malaysia finds mass influx of undocumented workers from Bangladesh

5,272 undocumented Bangladeshis held in Malaysia in 5 months. Malaysian immigration department has detained 5,272 Bangladeshi workers among other nationals between January 1 to June 4 this year amid the country’s stringent actions against undocumented foreign workers. During this time, the immigration department carried out 7,940 operations nationwide, involving checks on over 100,000 foreigners and took actions against 23,295 undocumented foreign workers, reports Malaysian newspaper Free Malaysia Today, quoting a statement by Malaysian Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin on Sunday. Of those detained, 8,011 are Indonesians, 5,272 are Bangladeshis, and the rest include workers from Myanmar, Philippines and Thailand, the report read. “In the five months between January 1 and June 1, 2019, some 26,116 illegal immigrants were sent back to their respective countries,” the statement said. The n


By The Star
June 11, 2019

Analysis, Economics

Pakistan not hitting economic growth targets.

Agricultural, industrial growth registers sharp slowdown in Pakistan. The economy grew at an average rate of 3.29 per cent (provisional) in fiscal year 2018-19 against an ambitious target of 6.2pc set in last year’s budget, the Pakistan Economic Survey revealed on Monday. Sector-wise growth rates: Agriculture: 0.85 per cent (against target of 3.8pc) Industry: 1.4pc (against target of 7.6pc) Services 4.7pc (against target of 6.5pc) Revenue collection Total revenue at Rs3,583.7bn (9.3pc of GDP) showed almost 0pc growth from July-March 2019, while growth in total expenditures was 8.7pc. The fiscal deficit was recorded at 5pc of the GDP compared to 4.3pc in the corresponding period last fiscal. “Decelerated


By Dawn
June 11, 2019

Analysis, Economics

Investors still have confidence in China’s economy

An op-ed from China Daily arguing that the trade war has not dampened the country’s economic prospect. Wealthy Chinese and other Asian investors are near the top of the league tables for economic optimism worldwide. That makes sense because growth in Asia has outpaced that in the rest of the world for the past 20 years. But it does seem to overlook the intensifying US-China trade dispute, which has weighed on markets and economic activity and which ranks as the top worry for the same wealthy Asian investors who participated in a new UBS study. At first glance, it also flies in the face of the fact that wealthy Asian investors are holding large sums of their portfolios in cash, a clear sign they’d keep what they’ve got rather than put it to work-and at risk. What explains this possible contradiction? On second glance, the investors surveyed in the UBS Investor Sentiment report di


By China Daily
June 10, 2019