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This town used $228K for COVID relief on giant squid statue

Money well spent?

A coastal town in Japan has dropped a reported 25 million yen — about $228,000 — on a 42-foot-long, 30-foot-wide and 13-foot-high statue of a pink squid, using money designated for coronavirus pandemic relief.

Officials in Noto claim that their investment in the behemoth cephalopod will help drum up tourism in the cash-strapped fishing town, which is located in the Ishikawa prefecture on Japan’s central-western coast.

Although Japan is currently battling another spike of COVID-19, declaring a state of emergency just last month, Noto says their case rate has been low throughout the pandemic. Regardless, their tourism industry has taken a big hit, they said.

The peninsula city received a total of 800 million yen in emergency economic relief funds though government grants, Yahoo Japan reported, which were not set aside for just coronavirus-related efforts. Nevertheless, some are criticizing Noto’s administration for spending so much on the bizarre monument — especially as COVID-19 continues to ravage communities throughout Japan and around the world.

So far there have been nearly 530,000 positive coronavirus cases in the country, resulting in the deaths of more than 10,293 people, according to Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, out of a total population of 126.3 million