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HOME  > Past issues  > 2012 August 1 - 14  > Seaside guest houses in Fukushima suffer from lack of business
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2012 August 1 - 14 [NUCLEAR CRISIS]

Seaside guest houses in Fukushima suffer from lack of business

August 13, 2012
A swimming beach in Fukushima Prefecture opened this summer for the first time since the nuclear disaster last year. However, local guest-houses are suffering from very poor bather attendance.

Fukushima has 17 bathing places. Nakoso Beach in Iwaki City is the only beach opened this summer in the prefecture. The damage to the beach caused by the tsunami was not very serious.

Iwaki City government says that some 7,000 sea bathers visited Nakoso Beach from July 16, the beach’s opening day, to August 8. In summer 2010, the year before the March 11 disaster, the beach was crowded with 180,000 bathers. Though the open period this summer is a week shorter than 2 years ago, the number of visitors is only 4% of that in 2010.

Tanji Isamu, an owner of a guest-house facing the beach, had closed the house after the disaster as it was just not a question of business. At the end of last August, however, his guest-house was full of construction workers who came to build temporary housing units in the stricken areas. The “special procurement boom” lasted for just one and a half months.

One year after the disaster, Tanji applied to Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) for compensatory damages. But a TEPCO official told Tanji that payment for the damages is “zero” because he had the proceeds of the “one month and a half” of use last year.

Tanji said, “I have lost customers and my claim for damages was rejected. I’m completely at a loss as to what to do.”

Another woman who runs a guest-house beside a national road earned no money during the “special procurement boom” last year. Just then, her house which had been badly damaged by the tsunami was in the process of reconstruction. Though she claimed compensation from TEPCO in May, she has received no reply from the company.

“The rooms are all vacant even during the Bon holidays. Guest-house owners are getting older. It looks like that we have no choice but to close down our businesses,” she said sighing.
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