Four public hospitals in the earthquake-hit Okunoto area in central Japan ran a combined loss of over ¥1.2 billion in fiscal 2023, sources said Tuesday.

The Okunoto area, which is the northern point of the Noto Peninsula in Ishikawa Prefecture, was hit especially hard by the 7.6 magnitude quake that shook the peninsula on Jan. 1.

With the hospitals expected to continue bleeding red ink due to local depopulation spurred by the disaster, the prefecture faces an urgent task of maintaining community health care services amid post-disaster reconstruction efforts.