Sendai, Miyagi Pref., Sept. 13 (Jiji Press)–State-backed subsidies to help the rehabilitation of small businesses hit hard by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami have been held up by delays in the restoring of infrastructure in ruined northeastern Japan coastal areas.
Some 18 months after the disaster, 61 pct of the subsidies approved by prefectural governments in fiscal 2011 have not yet been distributed to applicants, because work to restore areas with subsidence and to overhaul and zone submerged land has not made smooth headway, impeding the reconstruction of destroyed or damaged plants and stores.
The subsidy program, financed by national and local governments, is intended to cover as much as three-quarters of the cost of rebuilding the destroyed or damaged facilities of businesses that are seen as essential to supply chains as well as local economies and job markets, among other eligibility criteria.
To be approved to receive the subsidies, small businesses need to team up into groups. Even then, aid is available only after the affected facilities are rebuilt.
Unusual in its use of public funds to help private businesses, the program attracted a flurry of applications.