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 The government has withdrawn its request for power-saving, and neon lighting has returned to flourishing areas in Sapporo.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

Saudi Crown Prince arrives in India

Ready to share intelligence, cooperate with India to eliminate terrorism: Saudi Crown Prince. India and Saudi Arabia on Wednesday exchanged memorandums of understanding (MoUs) after talks by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. MoUs on tourism, cooperation in the field of housing, International Solar Alliance among others were exchanged between the two countries. On his first state visit to the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomed the Saudi Crown Prince saying that Saudi Arabia was India’s “close friend”. India and Saudi Arabia have a longstanding relationship, PM Modi said adding that in the 21st century, Saudi Arabia was among India’s most important strategic partners. The Prime Minister, in a joint press conference with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, also welcomed Saudi investment in Indian infrastructure. I


By The Statesman
February 21, 2019

Analysis, Economics

‘No rush’ on NK denuclearization, Trump says

Trump and Kim are due to meet in Vietnam at the end of this month. US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that he had no strict timeline for North Korea’s ultimate denuclearization as negotiators from the two countries head to Vietnam for last-minute talks ahead of a second summit next week. “I’m in no rush. There’s no testing. As long as there is no testing, I’m in no rush,” Trump told reporters at the White House after a phone conversation with South Korean President Moon Jae-in. “I’d just like to see, ultimately, denuclearization of North Korea,” he said. The US president made similar remarks last week, in an apparen


By The Korea Herald
February 21, 2019

Analysis, Economics

Vice-Premier Liu to visit US for trade talks

Talks have been progressing but hopes that trade war will be scaled down remains low. News At the invitation of the US, Vice-Premier Liu He will visit Washington for the seventh round of high-level economic and trade talks on Feb 21-22, said a statement by the Ministry of Commerce on Tuesday. Liu, who is President Xi Jinping’s special envoy and chief of the Chinese side of the China-US comprehensive economic dialogue, will meet US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. China Daily Editorial  In welcome news, it seems that the latest talks between China and the United States, which concluded on Friday, have further narrowed their differences and expanded their common ground on key trade and economic issues. The two sides entered the two days of high-level talks on Thursday amid a flu


By China Daily
February 20, 2019

Analysis, Economics

Saudi Arabia signs 20 billion USD in agreements with Pakistan

‘Pakistan will be a very important country in coming future,’ says Saudi crown prince. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman on Sunday expressed optimism about the economic future of Pakistan, saying his country had been waiting for a leadership like that of Prime Minister Imran Khan to partner with Islamabad in various areas. Addressing a reception dinner at Prime Minister House hours after arriving in Pakistan, the crown prince — known as MBS for short — said Pakistan is a “dear country” to all Saudis and that the two countries “have walked together in tough and good times”. He said Pakistan today had a great future in store “with a great leadership”, and noted that the country’s GDP grew by 5 per cent in 2018. “We believe that P


By Dawn
February 19, 2019

Analysis, Economics

Saudi prince arrives in Pakistan to start Asia tour

The crown prince will follow up his visit to Pakistan with trips to India and China. Amid heightened security and arrangements in the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, Saudi Crown Mohammad bin Salman has arrived at Nur Khan Air Base in Rawalpindi. As he stepped down from the aircraft, the crown prince was warmly welcomed by Prime Minister Imran Khan. The premier’s cabinet members and Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa were also present at the air base to receive the Saudi guest. A formation of JF-17 thunder jets and F-16 fighter jets escorted the plane of the Saudi royal after its entry into the Pakistani airspace


By Dawn
February 18, 2019

Analysis, Economics

Press freedom is deteriorating in Asia, elections may offer a reset button

With many countries going to polls this year, the electorate across Asia have a chance to turn around a worrying press freedom situation. Maria Ressa’s arrest on Wednesday was the latest in a string of blatant attacks on the freedom of the press in Southeast Asia. For those that don’t know, Ressa is an award-winning journalist and CEO of the news website the Rappler. Her coverage of Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s extra-judicial war on drugs has received recognition far beyond her borders and as such, she is seen as a direct threat to the government. The latest arrest, made without prior warning, stemmed from a libel case where the complaint was filed five years after the initial story was published. Numerous press alliances, including the Asia News Network, have condemned the arrest as a blatant attack on freedom of the press. As the Philippines chapter of the Centre for Media Freedom and


By Cod Satrusayang
February 15, 2019