A tsunami-hit office will not be taken down as initially agreed to in September, as the Miyagi Prefectural Government decided to postpone the scheduled demolition. The decision to take down the building came after a 2-year debate with local residents and families left behind by the 43 victims who died in the said building in the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami.
The demolition was scheduled to start on November 2, but the prefectural government postponed the process. It said in a meeting on November 22 that as the national government has new plans to preserve ruins, the agency is proposing to take over the said remains. A panel of experts will be set to decide which sites should be preserved as a disaster memorial.
Yoshihiro Murai, governor of Miyagi, initially supported the decision to tear down the office, but is now requesting for support financially to stop the demolition and preserve the building. He is requesting support in the prefecture’s decision. Jin Sato, mayor of Minamisanriku, stated that while establishing a panel of experts is a good idea, the town has already made a decision. “The prefectural government needs to understand that it’s difficult to achieve a consensus among residents,” explains Sato. He also said, “We had kept asking the national government to state its position on handling ruins, but never received a response. That was part of the reason why we decided to dismantle the building.” Seiki Goto, a spokesperson from the town assembly said that it’s already a settled matter among the townspeople, and that overturning the decision will only bring trouble to the local community.