Japan Govt Plans Travel Discount to Promote Tourism to Hokuriku Region, Other Measures to Support Quake-affected Areas

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
A Hokuriku Shinkansen train pulls into Toyama Station

The government plans to roll out a travel discount program to promote tourism to the Hokuriku region, part of a package of measures to support people and businesses affected by the Noto Peninsula Earthquake.

A draft of the package includes programs to accelerate construction of temporary housing and assistance to small and midsize businesses, with the aim of providing seamless support to help people rebuild their lives in stages. Details are to be finalized later this week.

According to the draft, the package consists of three pillars — returning to ordinary life, restoring of livelihoods, and rebuilding infrastructure.

The government stated in the draft that with many people anxious about “an uncertain future,” it plans to accelerate efforts for restoration and reconstruction, and is determined to “do anything and everything that is possible.”

As one means for getting people back on their feet, temporary housing made of wood will be provided in addition to prefabricated buildings. To encourage more people to move from disaster-stricken areas to “secondary evacuation shelters” such as hotels and inns, the subsidy cap will be specially raised from ¥7,000 to ¥10,000 per person per night.

For small and midsize businesses, subsidies will be provided to cover the cost of restoring buildings and facilities with the aim of revitalizing the local economy. Funds will also be available for the local shopping district to carry out projects.

Those in the agriculture, forestry and fishery industries will receive support for rebuilding agricultural facilities, restoring fishing boats and for help in other areas.

The government plans to implement the discount travel program supporting the tourism industry in the Hokuriku region from March to April, with subsidies of 50% of travel expenses up to a maximum of ¥20,000 per person per night. For the Noto area, more generous measures will be considered based on the progress of reconstruction.

The government reiterated its intention to hasten the restoration of transportation infrastructure, specifically citing operation of Noto Airport and the Noto Testudo railway.

To fund the package, the government will approve as early as on Friday an expenditure of more than ¥100 billion from the reserve budget for fiscal 2023.