Tsunami-Ravaged School in Japan Opened to Public Viewing

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Ishinomaki, Miyagi Pref., July 18 (Jiji Press)--The remains of a local elementary school that was heavily damaged by the March 2011 tsunami unleashed by a 9.0-magnitude earthquake were opened to public viewing in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, northeastern Japan, on Sunday.

The Ishinomaki city government has completed a facility that allows visitors to look at the old building of Okawa Elementary School from up close. In a museum within the premises of the facility, photos of the inside of the school building and schoolchildren's evacuation routes on the disaster day are on display, offering lessons on disaster preparations and response at school.

The city government decided to preserve the old school building, with explanatory panels around it. Visitors are not allowed to enter the building, but can watch classrooms that are laid bare due to the destruction of the walls, as well as a twisted connecting corridor, from outside the fence.

At the school in the Pacific coastal city, a total of 84 children, teachers and staff workers died in the monster tsunami.

On March 11, 2011, the children stood by in the schoolyard for about 45 minutes after the quake at the instruction of teachers. They were engulfed by the tsunami soon after they began to evacuate.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press