Tsunami-Hit City to End Project to Return Lost Mementos to Owners

Society Lifestyle

Kesennuma, Miyagi Pref., Nov. 30 (Jiji Press)--Since June 2011, three months after the massive earthquake and tsunami, the city of Kesennuma in the northeastern Japan prefecture of Miyagi has been returning to owners photos and other mementos that were lost in the tsunami and later found by someone else.

After years of discussion, the tsunami-hit Pacific coastal city decided to end the project at the end of February next year. With fewer and fewer people coming to look for their belongings, the city concluded that the project will end as the disaster marks its 10th anniversary next year.

About one million items have been cleaned and stored under the project, entrusted to an incorporated association, with more than 10,000 people affected by the disaster visiting sites offering access to items. Some 700,000 items have so far been returned to their owners.

After the end of the project, 110,000 unclaimed photos will be transferred to a museum in the city. If owners come forward, the city government will print photos from the stored images for the owners.

The decision to end the project has given people a fresh reason to go and look for their items. The number of visitors at the Ruins of the Great East Japan Earthquake Kesennuma City Museum, where access to a database of the stored items is available, saw a 20-fold jump in November from just several a month in recent years.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press