Regarding the May 18 AP article “How one village defied the tsunami“: How is it that the tiny fishing village of Fudai in Iwate Prefecture could anticipate the threat of a major earthquake/tsunami? How did this tiny fishing village have the resolve and foresight to build a sea wall and floodgates at considerable expense at a massive height of 15.5 meters?
And how did a major corporate entity like Tokyo Electric Power Co. fail to understand the very same threat? The sea wall at Fukushima’s No. 1 nuclear power plant was a mere five meters high. Clearly the late mayor of Fudai (10 terms), Kotaku Wamura, valued the life of his neighbors and the future of his village more than he did corporate profit.
Wamura knew from past experience that a devastating tsunami was a very real threat in the Tohoku-Pacific region. Tepco executives who decided to build a sea wall at their nuclear plant on the cheap—the most costly and shortsighted disaster prevention plan of Japan’s post-World War II era—need to absorb the incredible story of Fudai’s survival.
Because Wamura understood on a very personal level the cataclysmic force of a major tsunami, he literally moved mountains to ensure the safety of his small, remote fishing village. The scientists and managers at Tepco obviously lacked his insight and his passion to protect Fukushima and the surrounding region.
Did any Tepco engineers ever bother to visit Fudai and learn more about Wamura’s massive sea wall and floodgates?
Never before has the proverb “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” made more sense. When will Japan’s profit-minded corporations understand this?
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.
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