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Tohoku Earthquake Debris to Return from Canada to Japan - ‘Shoeimaru’ Pallet Owner Identified

Tohoku Earthquake Debris to Return from Canada to Japan - ‘Shoeimaru’ Pallet Owner Identified

Members carrying fishery pallet indicated in ‘Shoeimaru’ Photo by Japan Love Project

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 A fishery pallet indicated in ‘Shoeimaru,’ which was found during clean-up for the Tohoku Earthquake debris at the coast of Ucluelet of Vancouver Island, was carried from Vancouver to Japan on August 4th and it is determined to return the pallet to Mr. Yoshihide Chiba in Utatsu Fishery Harbor of Minamisanriku-cho, Miyagi on the 17th.

 70 students from Japan participated in the collaborative clean-up project done by NPO IVUSA (= International Volunteer University Student Association, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo) and Vancouver volunteer organization ‘Japan Love Project’ for two days this March. One student participant, who found a fishery pallet indicated in ‘Shoeimaru’ in Japanese out of large amount of debris such as timbers of Japanese houses, plastic bottles and foamed styrols, started research for information related to affected fishery vessels after he went back to Tokyo as he wanted to ‘manage to find who the owner is.’ He actually went from Kesennuma to Minamisanriku at the beginning of May and was able to find the owner.

 ‘We found “Shoeimaru” is the common name compared like “Sato” and “Suzuki.” We members discussed whether we continue the research for a whole. It’s nothing less than miracle to identify the owner,’ said Ms. Eri Akai, Public Relations of Japan Love Project. ‘We have conflict about whether it is good to return the pallet which reminds the owner of the bad memories, but it is a precious relic for Mr. Chiba, who decided to keep the memories in mind. We wish it could lead him to have a hope to live lively,’ talked about meaning of the return. ‘I believe this return as well as our three-and-half-years whole activities is the ones to connect Canada and Japan. These were meaningful as the reconstruction support from Canada even though each activity was small scales,’ she looked back.

 This pallet return project is their last and Japan Love Project will stop their group activities. A representative Hiroki Takai talked about appreciation and future resolution, ‘It has been three and half years since we started the activities. So many people across borders supported, understood and cooperated with us and we were able to accomplish many reconstruction projects. All the members were university students (at the time of organization establishment). We are very thankful for 100 % of truth and support to us who rose ourselves up to do something for Japan. Although our organization stops the activities, each member will still continue what we can do and want to take individual ways with pride of Japan Love Project.

(Translated by Hiroko Shioda)

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