Almost half of offices want to reopen, stay in business in evacuated hometowns

In a survey of business establishments in 12 municipalities with government-designated evacuation zones in the wake of Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant disaster, 627 businesses, or 45% of the 1,388 offices covered, expressed hope to reopen or continue their operations in their hometowns in the future. The results of the survey, conducted by the nonprofit Fukushima Soso Reconstruction Corp. as of Nov. 14, were announced at a meeting of public- and private-sector parties to the group held on Nov. 17 in Fukushima city on the post-disaster reconstruction of Fukushima’s Soso area that constitutes the upper half of the prefecture’s Pacific coast region. Among those surveyed, 19% (270 establishments) have either returned to their hometowns and reopened operations or have stayed in their hometowns and wish to continue business there. Another 12% (161 establishments) have resumed business in other locations as a result of evacuation but wish to return to their hometowns and reopen there in the future, while 14% (196 establishments) have suspended operations but hope to return and restart in their hometowns. In other words, a total of 45% are inclined to reopen their offices and continue business in their hometowns. Fukushima Soso Reconstruction said it plans to visit about 8,000 businesses individually, and offer greater support and consultation services by experts for operators who wish to reopen in their hometowns. (Translated by Kyodo News)