An airport in central Japan damaged by a powerful earthquake on New Year's Day will resume services for commercial flights later this week, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Tuesday.

All Nippon Airways said it will restart services connecting Tokyo's Haneda airport and Noto airport in Wajima, Ishikawa Prefecture, on the Sea of Japan coast on Saturday.

Members of the Japan Self-Defense Forces take out boxes of relief supplies from a U.S. military helicopter at Noto airport in the central Japan prefecture of Ishikawa on Jan. 17, 2024, after the Noto Peninsula was hit hard by a strong earthquake on Jan. 1. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

During a meeting of the disaster response task force, Kishida said the government will compile a relief package on Thursday, vowing to "incorporate as many policies as possible from the viewpoint of sufferers."

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi, the top government spokesman, told a news conference later Tuesday that the relief measures will likely include support for the tourism industry to mitigate the impact of a spate of travel cancellations to the Hokuriku region covering Ishikawa Prefecture.

ANA will operate temporary round-trip flights between Tokyo and Wajima three days a week until the end of February for those wanting to help with relief efforts in the quake-hit region. Before the disaster, it was offering two round-trip flights every day.

To avoid a blizzard forecast in the region over the next few days, ANA has decided to operate the first flight on Saturday.

Kishida also instructed government officials to organize relief operations involving volunteer workers as local governments were reluctant to accept them due partly to infrastructure disruptions immediately after the quake, which claimed the lives of more than 230.

More than 15,000 residents are still taking shelter as of Monday in Ishikawa, and the prefectural government said it expects to secure enough temporary housing to accommodate them by the end of March, including public housing offered by local governments outside the prefecture.

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