Miyagi School, Which Lost 74 Kids in March 2011 Tsunami, Closed
Ishinomaki, Miyagi Pref., Feb. 24 (Jiji Press)—A ceremony was held on Saturday to mark the closure of the Ōkawa elementary school in northeastern Japan, which lost 74 of its 108 students in the March 2011 earthquake-triggered massive tsunami.
The closure of the municipal school in the city of Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, was decided in 2016, with no prospect of a recovery in the number of students following the calamity, which also killed 10 of the school staff.
The ceremony was held at the Futamata elementary school in the same city, into which Ōkawa will be merged, and attended by current and former students, as well as parents and others. Kagi Yorinobu, principal of Ōkawa elementary school, returned the school flag to a city government official, and the participants sang the school song.
The disaster-hit Ōkawa school building will be conserved as a memorial site by the city government to pass on lessons from the March 11, 2011, catastrophe to future generations. A monument to mark the school closure will be set up.
"It's sad that the school, where I and my children attended, will disappear," said Suzuki Noriyuki, 53, whose second daughter, Mai, died in the tsunami at the age of 12. "But as the school building will be preserved, I'll keep watching our school," he said.
[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]