Jin Sato, mayor of Minamisanriku, Miyagi Prefecture, believed it was his responsibility to decide whether to preserve or demolish a town building ravaged by the March 2011 tsunami.

"Because I felt guilty for surviving the disaster, I thought I had to be the one who decides," Sato said in a recent interview.

The building is now set to be preserved as a disaster relic of the town, after its management is returned from the Miyagi prefectural government to the town on July 1.