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The hard rebirth on Japan's tsunami land

03-10-2012 09:32 BJT Special Report:Japan: One Year After Quake and Tsunami |

By Sun Xiaozheng, Chen Rui

NATORI, Japan, March 10 (Xinhua) -- Kiyoshi Mori drives about one hour everyday from Sendai to inland Takadate Yoshida, Natori to grow komatsuna, a green leaf vegetable that are very popular among Japanese people. He rented the land for farming since last April, after his house, car and all farm tools were washed away by a towering tsunami last year.

"My wife and I now rent a house in Sendai. Life after the disaster was grey. But working together with friends makes me happy and the business of growing and selling these vegetables is not bad," the 61-year-old man said.

Mori used to live in Kitakama, Natori, one of the many small towns dotted along the coast of Japan's northeast region that was ravaged by the huge quake and tsunami on March 11 last year.

Kitakama used to be a major production base of komatsuna, but now, all houses and farm lands are gone, leaving only dead black pine trees, which used to protect residents and lands of Kitakama, lying along the coast of the small town.

For the most part, the spaces are clear, with only a few damaged cars staying still, like scars of the tsunami land. Their owners untraceable and no one prepared to sigh the order to move them. The reconstruction was slow, but for the survived, new life has begun elsewhere.

Like Mori, many of the local residents choose to either move to inland Natori or Sendai, the capital of Miyagi ken, to start a new life. Though without a fixed home, life is much harder than that before the disaster. The useless salted land back home makes returning impossible.

Mori's komatsuna was sold to local market at 100 yen (about 1. 2 U.S.dollars) per 250 g. from last Jun to December, from which he has already earned 6 million yen.

Speaking of a longer term goal, Mori said, "Returning home now seems impossible, as the soil needs five to six years or more to be able to grow anything, but I've always wanted to be back since I was born and grown up here in Natori."

On the devastated land of Mori's hometown Kitakama, a few faint tints of green are waving in the sea breeze.

"Rebuilding the damaged coastal forest at Kitakama will take more than 20 years," said Tadashi Watanabe, Director General of OISCA International, a UN related NGO which now in charge of a Tohoku Coastal Forest Restoration Project, "but only black pine trees can survive the salted land and it can create jobs for the affected residents."

Watanabe pointed to the saplings less than one meter tall and said, "these little black pine trees are four to five years old, not planted. They survived the tsunami themselves, and so will the Natori people."

Editor:Zhang Hao |Source: Xinhua

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