Quake Affects Cheese Maker In Hokkaido

Quake affects cheese maker in Hokkaido

The powerful quake that hit Japan's northern main island of Hokkaido last week is affecting the local cheese industry. Cheese is one of the region's specialties.

Japan's first cheese farm was established in the town of Abira in 1933. The area was hit hard by the quake, and there is no running water.

A cheese farm in the town, whose customers have included the late movie star Ken Takakura, has suspended production since last week.

It continues to ship cheese, but its stocks may run out soon.

The operator says that even if the water supply is restored quickly, it will take about one month before its Camembert is ready. Blue cheese takes about 2 months to mature. Camembert accounts for 40 percent of the farm's sales.

The operator is building another factory to boost sales, with the goal of putting it into operation in November.

The factory manager says he hopes the water supply will be reconnected soon so they can ship their cheese. He says they also want to contribute to the town's reconstruction.