TOKYO (Nikkei)–Ishinomaki in Miyagi Prefecture will begin rebuilding the city center in May under a government program designed to help towns damaged in last year’s quake and tsunami rebuild by setting up special companies, The Nikkei learned Tuesday.
A shopping arcade near Ishinomaki Station stands deserted due to damage from last year’s tsunami.
Ishinomaki will be the first of Tohoku’s disaster-ravaged municipalities to set up such a company under the program.
Under the Special Zone for Reconstruction law, city officials in charge of reconstruction, business owners, and disaster victims can jointly set up a reconstruction entity to carry out projects on behalf of the central and prefectural governments to provide business and employment opportunities to local companies and residents. Investments in the companies will get preferential tax treatment.
Ishinomaki will take part in the program, aiming to create a city center that is easy for elderly residents to live in, with retail shops and housing for disaster victims built around a city hospital that is slated to relocate near JR Ishinomaki Station in fiscal 2015.
By taking advantage of the scheme’s tax benefits, Ishinomaki aims to encourage use of vacant shops and foster new businesses, as it tries to speed up the rebuilding of the shopping arcade that was damaged by the tsunami in March of last year.
The city has decided to move the public hospital, which was heavily damaged by the tsunami, closer to the railway station, where damage was less severe. It plans to invite health care businesses, pharmacies, restaurants and retailers to the area in hopes of creating a town that offers vital services within walking distance for elderly residents.
(The Nikkei, April 24 evening edition)