The controversial squid statue has been erected in the coastal town of Noto, Ishikawa Prefecture, and its representatives said it is part of a long-term plan to lure tourists back after the pandemic. Although the number of local cases was very low, the city recorded a significant decrease in the number of visitors, writes the BBC server.
Noto received a total of 800 million yen (156 million kronor) through government grants. It was supposed to be economic aid for regions affected by the epidemic, but the money was not necessarily used to fight the consequences of the virus, according to the Yahoo Japan server. However, some voices criticized the city administration for investing part of the money, around 25 million yen (4.87 million crowns), in as futile as the giant squid – especially at a time when the epidemic was not over yet.
Money can be used better
A local resident complained to the local press that the statue may have served as a tourist attraction in the future, but now the funds could be used for emergency assistance to health professionals or care facilities.
Criticism has also surfaced on social networks. On Twitter, for example, a user asked how the world would see such a statue in a country where it fails to properly distribute vaccines, perform polymerase chain reaction tests, and a healthcare system has collapsed.
The New York Times writes that Japan has managed the epidemic better than most countries. However, cases are now starting to rise again in Tokyo and other cities, and criticism has also spread in the country due to the slow distribution of vaccines. Additionally, the question hangs in the air as to whether the Olympic Games, which are scheduled to start in Tokyo in July, will take place.