FUKUSHIMA, Mar. 7 – Almost twelve years have passed since the massive earthquake and the accident at the Tokyo Electric Power Company’s Fukushima No.1 Nuclear Power Plant hit the eastern part of Japan. In mid-February this year, a reconstruction promotion manager of a local agricultural cooperative in Fukushima Prefecture (JA Fukushima Sakura) visited an ex-JA building in Futaba Town, Fukushima Prefecture, for the first time after the evacuation order was lifted in August last year. Everything inside the building has been left almost untouched for 12 years, and traces of the turmoil are everywhere. A Japan Agricultural News reporter accompanied him on the visit.
“This brings back good memories of the past rather than sadness and emptiness,” said Hiroshi Tanaka inside the former JA Futaba Northern Farming Center. He worked here as a grain elevator operator until 2007. We saw long trailing vines of plants growing in the back door entrance hall, though the door for staff members has been closed for many years. The hall was covered by dry leaves.
What we saw in the office was a whiteboard calendar on the wall with some schedules for March 2011. The last one was a note about an event on March 12, which was never held.
JA staff took out important documents immediately after the quake, leaving unfinished canned coffee, pay stubs, and such on the table behind in a mess.
We also saw papers scattered on the cabinet, which also served as a counter to welcome JA members. They are application forms for users of the Futaba Grain Elevator, which was dismantled in 2021.
“My goodness!” Tanaka suddenly raised a voice and picked up a colorful pen with a “HAWAII” print. “This is a souvenir from my honeymoon trip!”
The JA plans to demolish the building. The future use of this site is still under discussion.