Fukushima completes rebuilding all tsunami-ravaged fishing ports

Work to repair Ukedo fishing port in the Fukushima Prefecture town of Namie, badly damaged by the 2011 earthquake and ensuing tsunami, has been completed, meaning all 10 local ports impacted in the disaster are again working as normal, the prefectural government announced on Nov. 11. It took more than a decade to restore the ports, partly due to the impact of the nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.'s Fukushima Daiichi plant. With port safety ensured and infrastructure to transport fishermen's catches back in place, moves to resume coastal fishing on a full scale are expected to gather momentum. ■ Restart of coastal fishing boosted with work completed The 10 Fukushima fishing ports ravaged by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami had breakwaters, piers and coastal embankments destroyed, among other structures. The local government has since strived to restore breakwaters, repair revetments, pave roads inside ports and undertake other works, using a national subsidy program designed to fund infrastructure improvements in farming, mountain and fishing villages, among other financial resources. In total, all port reconstruction projects cost some 34 billion yen. Seawalls inside all port areas have been restored as well. The Ukedo district of Namie, which includes Ukedo port on which reconstruction work has been completed, was designated as a warning zone in April 2011 following the nuclear disaster, resulting in delays to damage assessment. Reconstruction work began in October 2013, leading to the restoration of tsunami-affected facilities -- a 1,948-meter-long breakwater, a 745-meter-long pier, a port road 1.15 kilometers in length and a tsunami-resistant seawall that is 1,132 meters long. According to the local government, all ports will enjoy calmer waters when landing catches and safer fish transport following the completion of reconstruction work. "Although restoration is complete, we will seek to meet local fishermen's needs as much as possible in pursuit of true revival," said a local government official in charge of fishing ports. Of the three northeastern Japanese prefectures hit by the disaster, Iwate accomplished restoration work on all 31 fishing ports administered by the local government in August 2019. In Miyagi, reconstruction work covers all 27 fishing ports managed by the local government, with 18 of them having seen reconstruction completed as of March 31, 2021. The prefectural government is set to hold a ceremony in celebration of the completion of work on Ukedo port in Namie. An event is also scheduled to unveil a painting on a seawall done by children of the town's Sosei elementary and secondary schools. (Translated by Kyodo News)