Giant squid statue built by Japanese town using Covid-19 relief funds

A coastal town in western Japan has drawn ire on social media for using a number of the coronavirus relief funds it was given by the federal government to construct a statue of a large squid within the hopes of boosting tourism.

The town of Noto in Ishikawa Prefecture was awarded 800 million yen ($7.3 million) in grants from the central authorities as a part of an assist program aimed toward boosting native economies amid the pandemic, in keeping with home media.

From that quantity, Noto used 25 million yen ($229,000) to cowl a part of the price of constructing the statue, which is 13 ft excessive and 29.5 ft lengthy, home media reported. Total building prices had been round 30 million yen ($274,000), they mentioned.

Japan is battling a fourth wave of coronavirus infections and the cupboard accepted a $708 billion stimulus package deal in December to assist the financial system get better from the pandemic-induced hunch.

Squid is a neighborhood delicacy in Noto and constructing the statue was a part of a “long-term strategy” to boost consciousness concerning the town’s fishing business and enhance tourism, a neighborhood authorities official mentioned, in keeping with home media.

Reuters referred to as Noto’s authorities however the one that answered was not approved to talk with the press. Japan’s authorities buildings had been closed on Wednesday for annual Golden Week holidays.

The grants weren’t particularly earmarked for spending associated to treating coronavirus sufferers, and Ishikawa Prefecture’s an infection charge is low in contrast with different components of Japan, in keeping with native media.

However, some folks took to Twitter to query whether or not these funds ought to have been used for different functions.

“No matter how you look at it, this is wrong. They have to return that money,” one Twitter consumer mentioned.

Construction of the pink cephalopod started in October 2020, and the completed statue was lastly moved to its present residence in March of this yr, native media reported.