10 Years On: Tsunami-Hit Town to End Project to Return Mementos

Society Lifestyle

Namie, Fukushima Pref., March 9 (Jiji Press)--Ten years after being hit by a massive earthquake and tsunami, the town of Namie, Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan, is set to end its project to return mementos found in affected coastal areas.

The town has had mementos, such as photos and school goods, on display at a facility opened in the town in 2014 so that residents afflicted by the March 11, 2011, disaster can find their own belongings or items of their loved ones. March 21 this year will be the last day of operation for the facility.

"This place has also been a site of reunion for residents. But a line has to be drawn," said Noboru Kawaguchi, 71, who has worked as a staffer of the facility. Some 15,000 items remain unclaimed at the site.

Since its opening, over 10,000 people have visited the mementos storage facility, and more than 2,300 items have been returned. The Namie town government decided to close it as the number of visitors has fallen sharply a decade after the disaster.

Kawaguchi's house was destroyed by the tsunami. Kawaguchi, who was working at a paddy field when the disaster struck, was able to evacuate, but his parents, who were at home, could not.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press