Tsunami-hit town office to be preserved as ‘disaster remains’
OTSUCHI, Iwate — Authorities here have decided to preserve part of the former town office building where the lives of 40 town officials — including the mayor — were lost to the March 2011 tsunami, in order to keep a memory of the devastating natural calamity.
Otsuchi Mayor Yutaka Ikarigawa announced the decision at a press conference on March 28, saying, “It is necessary to conserve the remains of the disaster in order to keep its memory from fading, as well as through words and footage about the catastrophe.”
The decision comes amid the pros and cons of the fate of the former town office, where then Otsuchi Mayor Koki Kato and 39 other town officials were lost to the tsunami on March 11, 2011. While there have been calls and petition drives for the preservation of the building as “quake-disaster remains” in light of disaster-prevention education and lessons for future generations, others called for dismantling the structure in consideration of the sentiment of some of the bereaved families, who complained that “even a glimpse of the building is heartbreaking.”
The town said it will consider preserving the facade of the building with its entrance and a clock, while consulting with the central government over how to utilize disaster recovery subsidies in covering over 100 million yen in costs for reinforcing and maintaining the structure.