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A little more than three years after the devastating earthquake paralyzed the northeast, coastal communities shattered by the ensuing tsunami are slowly returning to normal. Shops that were destroyed are gradually reopening. Residents forced to evacuate to distant parts are returning to their hometowns.

And soon, communities along the coast of Iwate Prefecture will take another step toward recovery: Sanriku Railway Co. is set to restart full-scale operation of its South Rias and North Rias lines.

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