Soma city eyes reopening of bathing beach in summer next year

15 April 2017

The Fukushima Prefecture city of Soma is set to begin consultations with parties concerned in the current fiscal year ending next March over the Haragama-Ohama bathing beach that has been shut down since the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. If conditions permit, the city will seek to reopen it in the summer of 2018.

The prefectural government is building a seaside embankment behind the beach for completion before the end of fiscal 2017. It has already set up restrooms, shower rooms, benches and other facilities at a seaside park near the beach in preparation for the reopening of the area to swimmers. Portions of the beach eroded by tsunami stemming from the 2011 quake have also been restored.

In preparation for a tsunami alert and other disaster warnings, the city is planning to build an evacuation path stretching inland from the embankment to allow people staying near the beach to flee safely.

The municipality is poised to discuss the beach's reopening and safety precautions for visitors, among other things, with the prefectural government, tourism- and accommodation-related organizations, and other relevant parties.

About 50,000 people used to visit the bathing beach every season before the disaster, according to the city.

(Translated by Kyodo News)