Recovery slow in disaster-zone fish processing industries

JIJI

A Fisheries Agency survey revealed Thursday that the pace of reconstruction has been slow in fish processing industries in five coastal prefectures hit hard by the tsunami caused by the 9.0-magnitude earthquake on March 11, 2011.

Only 50 percent of the surveyed companies in the prefectures of Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi, Fukushima and Ibaraki said their production capacities have recovered to 80 percent or more of the levels before the disaster.

By prefecture, the rate came to 90 percent in Aomori, 53 percent in Iwate, 50 percent in Miyagi, 25 percent in Fukushima and 66 percent in Ibaraki, according to the survey, which was conducted between November 2014 and last month.

In the previous such survey in February-March 2014 that covered Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima, the proportion of companies whose production capacities had recovered to 80 percent or more came to 57 percent, 49 percent and 24 percent, respectively.

The latest survey also showed that 40 percent of the fish processing businesses in the five prefectures have seen their sales rise back to 80 percent or more of the predisaster levels. In the February-March 2014 survey, the combined rate in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima, which were particularly hit hard by the disaster, stood at 28 percent.

The agency said that the recovery is tardy at companies with insufficient capital.

In the latest survey, many businesses complained of misinformation about the safety of fishery products in light of the meltdown disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power station damaged in the March 2011 disaster.

The survey was conducted on 937 companies in five prefectures, with 314 providing valid replies.