Tsunami tourism in Japan
THOSE who watched in horror as Minami Soma was swept away by last year’s March 11 tsunami may soon have the opportunity to see the devastation first hand.
Following the removal of the Japanese government’s evacuation orders on Monday, the Minami Soma municipal has announced it plans to offer walking tours of the city.
The Daily Yomiuri reports that the tours, called “disaster area reconstruction support tours”, will be run by volunteers and show visitors areas that have been deserted because of high radiation counts.
Participants, who could be allowed into the city as early as June this year, will be provided with Geiger counters but basic utilities like running water are still unavailable.
Without power and water, residents have been forced to uproot themselves and move away from their hometown.
The removal of the evacuation order has seen many people return to their homes and salvage what they can. Unable to enter his former home, Michio Matsudaira told the Mainichi Daily that the outlook for his town is bleak.
“Many residents in this area are old. In the absence of jobs, my future is uncertain,” he said.
During the summer months, the Minami Soma coast once hosted over 1.5 million tourists who came for the Soma Nomaoi festival but has had no tourists since March last year.
To further boost the local tourism industry, the local government plants to offer a 2000 yen (US$25) subsidy for each person who stays and eats in the city.
This article by Anna Watanabe first appeared on her blog at Asian Correspondent