Japanese Court Backs Demolition of Building Hit by March 2011 Tsunami

Society

Morioka, Iwate Pref., Jan. 17 (Jiji Press)--A Japanese court on Thursday dismissed a request from residents to block the demolition of a former local government building in the town of Otsuchi, Iwate Prefecture, where many people were killed in the March 2011 tsunami.

In the lawsuit filed against Otsuchi Mayor Kozo Hirano, the residents claimed that the former town building can be recognized as a cultural asset as it has social and economic value as a reminder of the massive disaster.

Handing down the ruling, Kyo Nakamura, presiding judge at Morioka District Court, recognized no abuse of the mayor's discretionary power over his decision to remove the building remains, noting that the town assembly has approved a budget for the demolition work.

The ruling also pointed out that the will of residents was well reflected in the mayor's decision, including through meetings between the town government and them on the matter.

"Now we have a court ruling that there was no illegality," Hirano told reporters, referring to his decision to demolish the building remains. "We'll proceed with the demolition work steadily."

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press