Regional commerce hub reopens in wholly evacuated Fukushima town of Tomioka

A home improvement center serving as a commercial hub of the southern Futaba region in Fukushima Prefecture resumed operations in the wholly evacuated town of Tomioka on Nov. 23 after a hiatus of five years and eight months since the 2011 nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi plant. Daiyu Eight Co. based in Fukushima city opened the hardware shop, dubbed “Daiyu Eight Sakura Mall Tomioka Store,” inside a commercial complex. The company set up the shop ahead of other business establishments within the complex to help spur post-disaster reconstruction in the region, located in the prefecture’s eastern part on the Pacific coast. The shop is expected to support the infrastructure for living in the town, where residents have begun temporary stays at their homes to prepare for the lifting of the evacuation order targeted for next spring, and play the role of encouraging evacuated residents elsewhere in the region to return home permanently. The shop is the first do-it-yourself store opened in the Futaba region, which encompasses eight municipalities, since the nuclear disaster. Its floor space is about 7,700 square meters. On Nov. 25, three more shops -- serving noodles, offering set meals and selling prepared dishes -- opened while Toho Bank put an automated teller machine corner into operation. York-Benimmaru Co., a supermarket chain based in Koriyama city in the prefecture, and Tsuruha Co., a drugstore chain based in Sapporo, northern Japan, are scheduled to open outlets in the complex next spring, bringing the facility up to full capacity. (Translated by Kyodo News)