Tourism Recovery Hopes Fade as Wajima Struggles to Recover from Earthquake

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Hotel chef Makoto Wakabayashi was among those in Wajima, Ishikawa Prefecture, hoping for a banner year as visitors returned to the scenic, seaside town that weathered more than two years of pandemic gloom.

Those dreams came apart in minutes of violent shaking on New Year’s Day, when the strongest earthquake to strike Japan in 13 years and multiple aftershocks devastated the city and claimed dozens of lives.

Days later, buckled roads continue to hamper the influx of aid, while rescuers search for survivors among the flattened structures. Among the badly damaged buildings is Wakabayashi’s employer, the seaside Hotel Koshuen.

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