People in quake-hit Wajima to build temporary prefab shopping mall

Shop owners and officials in the quake-hit city of Wajima in Ishikawa Prefecture have decided to build a temporary shopping facility in the city center.

Soujiji shopping street area representatives and city officials reached the decision at a meeting on Wednesday.

About two-thirds of the street's member shops were completely or severely damaged by the New Year Day earthquake, forcing the owners to suspend their businesses.

The participants reported that seven shops, including an eatery and a barber, are hoping to continue their businesses in the same street area.

They decided to build a large prefabricated building in a square near the street and divide it with partitions to be used as shops.

City officials say shop owners will bear electricity and other utility costs, but can rent the space free of charge for up to two-and-a-half years.

The cooperative of shops will conduct a survey to confirm whether the shop owners are willing to use the facility. It hopes to complete the facility in June.

Representative director of the Sojiji-dori cooperative Nomura Takefumi said he and others plan to work with the city to build a temporary mall that would attract many visitors.