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Fukushima businesses battle for survival, as few former residents return

Fukushima businesses struggling to stay afloat despite government help,  Japan Times, 29 Jan 21 Commercial complexes built as part of revitalization projects in areas affected by the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in March 2011 are struggling to stay afloat.Faced with difficulties due to swelling costs, business operators often turn to local municipalities for financial aid to help them overcome crises. But the financial struggles will not end soon, given that only a portion of the residents who evacuated from the disaster-stricken areas have returned or are expected to.

Those outlets are now facing a testing moment that will determine whether they can continue with their businesses.

A small village in Fukushima Prefecture located northwest of the power plant, Iitate, which was issued evacuation orders after the nuclear disaster, built the commercial complex Michi no Eki Madeikan for ¥1.4 billion. However, business at the commercial building, which has a convenience store and a vegetable stand, has always been touch and go.

Madei Garden Village Iitate runs the business using a ¥33 million payment from the local government. But even with those funds, the operator saw a deficit of ¥9 million in fiscal 2017 and ¥8 million the following year.

Faced with a severe financial crisis, the company was forced to seek financial aid worth ¥35 million from Iitate in 2018.

After revising its business strategy, the company managed to reduce running costs and decrease the deficit to ¥300,000 in fiscal 2019.

“We are expecting a profit in fiscal 2020. I’ll be dealing with the accumulating debt as a priority,” says Rokutaro Kurihara, the company’s managing director.

Kurihara’s company is among those operating at 12 commercial facilities in 10 towns in areas that used to be designated as no-go zones, including the town of Namie and Tamura city.

Since most of the stores and shops shut down when residents evacuated from the region, local governments have built them for returning residents.

But many of them share the same fate as Kurihara’s……  https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2021/01/29/national/fukushima-business-struggles/

January 29, 2021 - Posted by | Fukushima continuing

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