Donations to three towns in Hokkaido hit by a powerful earthquake last year expanded sharply in fiscal 2018 under the government's furusato nōzei (hometown tax donation) system, according to local municipalities.

Under the plan, which allows taxpayers to contribute to their hometowns or other municipalities of their choice in return for tax cuts, donations to Atsuma grew 5.4 times from the previous year to a record for the town of some ¥1.13 billion.

The town of Abira also pulled in a record ¥605 million in donations, a jump of 1.6 times from the previous year, while donations to Mukawa more than doubled to around ¥109 million, the second-largest sum the town has received so far.