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Tsunami-hit town demolishes old office despite preservation calls

Work began in northeastern Japan on Saturday to tear down a former town hall building where dozens of people died in a tsunami in 2011, despite calls from some residents to preserve it as a memorial.
The demolition of the two-story building in Otsuchi, Iwate Prefecture, came after the Morioka District Court rejected Thursday a petition to suspend the work. The building will be completely demolished by the end of February.
The town mayor and 27 officials died in the building when a massive earthquake and tsunami struck the region on March 11, 2011.
While some residents of Otsuchi said they did not want to see the building because it reminded them of the tsunami, others said it should be preserved as a memorial.
The town government is now considering preserving some of the items that were left inside the building, including a wall clock that apparently stopped after the building was inundated by tsunami waves and a ladder used by officials to evacuate to the roof.
"It's the first step for the town to be reborn," a resident in his 80s said while watching the demolition work.


KYODO
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