New Settlers Revitalizing Hokkaido Town 4 Years after Quake

Society Lifestyle

Atsuma, Hokkaido, Sept. 10 (Jiji Press)--Residents who moved into Atsuma after a powerful earthquake that hit the northernmost Japan prefecture of Hokkaido four years ago are the driving force behind the revitalization of the town hit hardest by the temblor.

The majority of such new settlers are members of a community revitalization cooperation squad launched by the Hokkaido town, and many of them are opting to continue living in Atsuma after their terms as members ended.

In 2021, the number of people who moved into the town exceeded that of those who moved out for the first time since the earthquake.

The quake, which struck Sept. 6, 2018, claimed the lives of 44 people, including three who died due to indirect causes. Many of the fatalities were in Atsuma, where the temblor registered 7, the highest level on Japan's seismic intensity scale. A total of more than 2,300 houses were destroyed or partially damaged in the disaster.

Yoshikazu Watanabe, 52, who is working to develop food products using haskap berries, moved to Atsuma from the Hokkaido city of Tomakomai in December 2021, following advice from an acquaintance.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press