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Thursday, 7th July 2016
In General Japan News,

First cruise ship docks in Kumamoto since earthquakes

The first international cruise ship has arrived in Kumamoto since it was rocked by a series of devastating earthquakes, in a sign that the stricken region is recovering.

The Quantum of the Seas docked at the Kumamoto port of Yatsushiro today (June 7th), before it returns to Shanghai at the weekend, reports the Japan Times.

Measuring 350 metres in length and capable of carrying some 4,000 passengers, the vessel is an impressive sight at any time, but its presence is particularly welcome in the wake of the natural disaster.

Kumamoto typically welcomes around ten such ships a year, with the majority of them plying routes from China, but the quakes in April had put a temporary halt on the practice.

Still recovering from the 6.5 and 7.3-magnitude earthquakes, officials said that the Quantum of the Seas represented hope for a resurgence in the battered tourism industry.

Increased visitor numbers is one way that much-needed funds could come into the prefecture, which is in need of rebuilding work and a boost to the economy.

Tens of thousands of people were forced to evacuate when the earthquakes struck and more than 100,000 homes were damaged.

According to the General Insurance Association of Japan (GIAJ), $3.2 billion (£2.5 billion) of claims for repairs to residential properties have been paid to the people of Kumamoto.

It is believed that once commercial, industrial and business interruption losses are factored in, the total figure to be paid by the insurance industry in the wake of the earthquakes will be in the region of $4 billion.

This is according to Artemis, which specialises in catastrophe bonds and insurance. It noted on its blog that the speed with which the claims had been paid was impressive.

Related news stories:
Kumamoto Airport reopens to commercial passengers (19th April 2016)
Shake Shack opens branch in Tokyo (13th November 2015)
Search for survivors in Kyushu after second earthquake rocks southern Japan (18th April 2016)