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Solemn reminder of 2011 tsunami

The Yomiuri Shimbun

The Minamisanriku town government’s former disaster management office stands between a dike and a mountain of dirt in Miyagi Prefecture in this photograph taken on Thursday.

The Yomiuri Shimbun MINAMISANRIKU, Miyagi — Nestled between the nine-meter-high Hachimangawa river dike and a mountain of dirt that is set to be used for raising ground levels sits the Minamisanriku town government’s former disaster management office.

The Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011 claimed the lives of 43 people in the office, including its officials. After going through a three-month refurbishment that included repainting the steel beams, the building is tidier but otherwise looks as it did immediately after the quake-triggered tsunami hit, serving as a reminder of the disaster.

Reconstruction work has taken place in this town, where 812 people either died or went missing due to the disaster. Store operators in Minamisanriku Sun Sun Shopping Village were to restart their operations on Friday on elevated land across the river, after having run their businesses in a temporary area until now.

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  • Yomiuri Shimbun file photo

    The office was gutted by the tsunami caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011.

  • The Yomiuri Shimbun

The government office is one of a handful of ruins that tell us the height of the ground where the town’s hub was located back then. The office belongs to the Miyagi prefectural government until 2031, but debate on what to do with it after that has not been settled among local residents.

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This March marks the sixth anniversary of the earthquake. The Yomiuri Shimbun photographed the area using a drone with permission.Speech



[Released on March 2, 2017]

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