Now here’s an interesting story that has people wondering whether they should laugh or cry. The town of Noto in Japan has spent 25 million yen ($228,500), that were given to the town as relief money during the pandemic, on an enormous squid statue.
The tourism and hospitality industry in Japan has been struggling, seeing some relief during the Go To Travel campaign the government launched and then had to suspend after it was reported that it was contributing to the widespread of the virus.
Noto, a fishing town on the Noto Peninsula, is famous for its squid. As a result, the local government thought the squid statue would be an appropriate measure to help the town’s tourism industry, which some residents thought outrageous instead of investing the money in resources necessary to fight the pandemic.
A Japanese town was given Covid-19 relief money. It spent $230,000 of it on a giant statue of a squid. https://t.co/gbQNguj3N7
— The New York Times (@nytimes) May 6, 2021
The squid statue has a hole where the squid’s beak should be so people can place their head there and take photos. However, Japan has experienced multiple waves as the country’s state of emergencies do close to nothing to lower numbers and the slow vaccine rollout has seen less than two percent of the population being inoculated.
Noto received a total of 800 million yen ($7.3 million) in relief money. While the money is intended to help during the COVID-19 pandemic, the money did not actually have to be spent on COVID-19 relief since they were intended to help affected areas boost their economy.
The town’s government, seeing tourism plummet due to the pandemic, decided to order and install the statue citing a plan that will help the town in the long run, so while critics have blasted the extravagant decision, the local government has stated that the decision is anything but myopic. Still, criticism is piling up as people think that the money should have been spent on urgent things during the pandemic like care facilities and medical staff.