Ex-Assemblyman Leads Collection of Lessons from 2011 Disaster

Society Lifestyle

Higashimatsushima, Miyagi Pref., Sept. 11 (Jiji Press)--A former member of the Higashimatsushima city assembly in Miyagi Prefecture, northeastern Japan, is leading efforts to gather local residents' testimonies of the 2011 major earthquake and tsunami.

Setsuro Sugawara, now head of the regional development promotion council of the city's Nobiru district, is hoping that the efforts will help pass down lessons from the disaster to posterity, as well as allow those who encountered the natural disaster nine and a half years ago to overcome their difficult experiences.

"I hope that people can find relief in letting out the feelings they had locked in their hearts," Sugawara, 70, said.

On March 11, 2011, Sugawara was going home after a city assembly session when the massive earthquake struck. He rushed home and told his wife, Ikuko, then 53, and his son, Ryo, then 27, to evacuate to a shelter. After that, he ran around the Nobiru district to call on people to find shelter.

The huge tsunami triggered by the quake hit the area while Sugawara was urging evacuations, and he sought refuge overnight in a building. He later went to an evacuation center set up at an elementary school crowded with evacuees, where he worked to maintain the facility. He did not have time to check whether his family survived, keeping up hope for their survival despite having partially given up on it.

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Jiji Press