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Tuesday, 29th March 2016
In General Japan News,

Tsunami engulfed school to be preserved as a memorial

A school in north-eastern Japan is to be kept as a permanent memorial to 84 pupils and staff who lost their lives when it was engulfed in a tsunami in 2011.

Plans announced by the mayor of Ishinomaki detailed how the Okawa elementary school building will be used to remember the dead and act as a way to show that disaster preparedness is paramount.

Local opinion has been divided on the future of the school, with some agreeing it should remain, while others believe it should be demolished, reports Japan Today.

Mayor Hiroshi Kameyama addressed assembled journalists at a press conference on Saturday (March 26th).

He said: “It’s an important place to remember and mourn the victims as well as educate people about disaster preparedness and pass on what transpired in the disaster.”

The area is to be redeveloped as a memorial park and will be shielded with trees in order to hide it from grieving families who may not find the site comforting.

Okawa school was engulfed by the tsunami waves after a magnitude nine earthquake struck off the coast of Japan on March 11th 2011.

The 84 staff and pupils who were killed represent the highest death toll in a disaster involving a school ever to occur in Japan.

Flood water made it as high as the ceiling of the second floor of the building, rushing in so quickly it was impossible for anyone to survive.

Conserving what is left of the steel-reinforced building is expected to cost 530 million yen (£3.27 million).

Another school in the city, Kadonowaki elementary, will also be preserved, as it too was hit by the tsunami five years ago and was then struck by a fire.

Related news stories:
Japanese town to scrap shipping boat washed ashore by tsunami (13th August 2013)
Tsunami victims remembered during Coming-of-Age ceremony (15th January 2013)
Japan apologises over tsunami warning (1st March 2010)