(CBS NEWS) – A coastal town in western Japan is under fire for using hundreds of thousands of dollars designated for COVID-19 relief for something slightly less important – a giant squid statue. Local officials said they hoped the statue would boost tourism.
The town of Noto was given 800 million yen, about $7.3 million, from the central government in relief funds, according to local media. The aid program aimed to boost local economies, which have struggled to stay afloat during the pandemic.
The Japanese government approved a $708 billion stimulus package in December to help its economy recover, as it battles a fourth wave of infections. The nation has reported over 622,000 cases of the virus, according to Johns Hopkins University.
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