- witness ～
- triple disaster
- 三重の災害（地震 (earthquake、quake) ・津波・原発 (nuclear power plant) 事故のこと）
- fishing fleet
- 漁船団（後出 vessel は船）
- ceremonial flag
- 儀式用の旗（ここでは大漁旗）（後出 ceremonial outing はここでは出初め式）
- sacred sake
- 復興（後出 local ... council は福島県地域漁業復興協議会のこと）
- cripple ～
- evacuation order
- (be) lifted
- 海域（後出 waters off the coast は福島県沖合のこと）
- fishing cooperative
- (be) subject to ～
- radioactive cesium check
Flying the Flags Again
The port of Ukedo in Namie, Fukushima Prefecture, on Jan. 2 witnessed a sight not seen in the seven years since the March 2011 triple disaster: the local fishing fleet heading out to sea with colorful ceremonial flags fluttering in the wind.
About a kilometer from port, the 18 vessels carrying fishermen and their families were purified with sacred sake to pray for a safe, plentiful year of fishing and for the recovery of the local fishing industry.
The ceremonial outing had been held every year since the Taisho era, with over 100 vessels participating before the Great East Japan Earthquake that crippled the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant. As Ukedo port is just about 7 kilometers north of the plant and was heavily damaged by the tsunami caused by the quake, the only 26 vessels which remained had to be moored at a port further north in the prefecture.
The boats returned to Ukedo port in February 2017 after the port's pier was reconstructed. The nuclear disaster evacuation order for the area was lifted the following month. However, the boats still cannot fish in the nearby waters due to regulations set by the local fisheries recovery council, and instead have tested fishing at sites 10 kilometers or more from the nuclear plant.
"I'm as happy as I can be that the ceremony was so grand, but it also made me want to get back to our home fishing grounds," said local fishing cooperative head Takano Ichiro, 70.
According to the Fukushima Prefectural Government, the area's total catch is just over 10 percent of what it was before the disaster. Marine products from waters off the coast are subject to radioactive cesium checks. All the items monitored have been below the maximum contamination level set by the national government (100 becquerels per kilogram) since April 2015.
[本文 - 307 words]