No squid: Japanese city spent Covid money on squid statue; researchers say it made millions of dollars

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The monument was funded primarily by a Covid-19 relief grant from the central government.

Japan News-Yomiuri

The monument was funded primarily by a Covid-19 relief grant from the central government.

A giant squid monument built in Noto, Japan to promote the city’s main industry, squid fishing, has generated economic benefits of around 604 million yen (nearly NZ$7 million) , said the municipal government.

The monument was funded primarily by a Covid-19 relief grant from the Japanese central government. Some people criticized such use of taxpayers’ money and doubted that the monument would be beneficial. However, after construction, the economic effects are more than 22 times the cost of construction.

The 13-meter-long, 9-meter-wide statue of a fiber-reinforced plastic squid was built at the city’s Ikanoeki Tsukumall tourist facility in March last year and named “Ika King” (“the squid king”).

The economic spin-offs were calculated by a private consultancy commissioned by the city’s regional promotion department. The company surveyed people visiting the facility from early June through late August. Of the 439 survey respondents, about 45% said they came to the facility because they wanted to see the Squid King.

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To calculate the economic effects of the Squid King, the company asked respondents how much money they spent inside and outside the facility, among other questions.

The company’s analysis of the Squid King took into account its considerable number of media appearances, which created publicity effects. In August alone, there were more than 1,000 social media posts mentioning the monument, indicating that it will likely continue to attract attention.

On the other hand, out of the total construction cost of 27 million yen (NZ$308,000), 25 million yen came from a central government grant to municipalities to deal with the novel coronavirus. Local residents criticized the monument as a waste of money and some foreign media covered the issue.

“Compared to the cost of construction, the monument has generated great effects. I think we may be able to get some understanding from those who criticize the monument,” said an official from the regional promotion department of the city. town.

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