Signs of recovery for businesses hit by Noto quake

Many survivors of the Noto Peninsula earthquake in central Japan on New Year's Day are attempting to rebuild their lives and get their businesses up and running again.

They include Yamagishi Junichi, who owns a salt manufacturing company in Suzu City, Ishikawa Prefecture.

The 87-year-old resumed operations on Friday for the first time since the disaster.

His company extracts salt from seawater using a method that dates back about 400 years.

But he can no longer pump up water because the quake raised the seabed. He is currently relying on existing supplies.

Yamagishi says he has received about a year's worth of orders since last month, adding that he intends to fulfill the needs of his customers.

Local authorities are also stepping up work to help people get back on their feet.

Ishikawa Governor Hase Hiroshi visited several businesses in Suzu on Friday. He says he will incorporate their needs into the prefecture's reconstruction plan.

Business owners are not only asking for financial assistance, but also support for their employees.

Charcoal stove maker Kaginushi Tetsu says only 12 of his 35 employees are able to come to work.

Some evacuees in Suzu are now moving into temporary housing.

More than 450 units are being built across five locations. The first 40 to be completed are in the schoolyard of Shoin Elementary School.

One woman in her 80s whose house was destroyed in the quake came to see her temporary home with her daughter.

She said she will be happy for some peace and quiet after spending so much time in an evacuation center.

The central government has announced plans to provide more financial assistance for public housing projects in quake-hit areas.

Disaster Management Minister Matsumura Yoshifumi says the funds are for helping people who are struggling to rebuild.

The earthquake destroyed or damaged more than 60,000 homes in Ishikawa Prefecture.