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Fukushima fishing port hit by 2011 tsunami reopens after 8-year hiatus

Fishing boats hoist colorful large flags that are normally used to denote good catches in celebration of the reopening of the Tomioka fishing port in the town of Tomioka, Fukushima Prefecture, on July 26, 2019. (Mainichi/Naoki Watanabe)

TOMIOKA, Fukushima -- Tomioka fishing port, which was severely damaged by the tsunami following the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake in northeastern Japan reopened on July 26 for the first time in eight years and four months.

All 10 fishing ports in Fukushima Prefecture have now reopened. Tomioka's fishing port is located only about 10 kilometers away from Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO)'s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, where meltdowns occurred in the wake of the quake and tsunami.

About 50 members of the fishing industry participated in a reopening ceremony, and five boats that returned from ports where they had evacuated navigated around the reconstructed local port with colorful large flags that are used to signify a good catch.

The tsunami that hit the port on March 11, 2011 almost completely wiped out a fish-sorting facility and the office of the local fisheries cooperative. A number of boats anchored at the port were also swept inland.

While other fishing ports hit by the disaster in the prefecture had already reopened, reconstruction work for the Tomioka fishing port took longer, mainly due to an evacuation order in place over the town due to high radiation levels following the meltdowns.

Akio Sato, 52, regional manager of the local fisheries cooperative, commented, "I worked feverishly for this so it didn't feel like such a long time, even though it really was. I'm very happy to be able to return. I hope to make the port lively again."

(Japanese original by Naoki Watanabe, Fukushima Bureau)

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