Fukushima Network is launching the “We need your information” campaign

(Extracts from an e-mail of the Fukushima Network for preserving Historical Materials, on 19th March)

The Secretary office of the Fukushima Network for Preserving Historical Materials sends this report.

This is sent for the participants of our Network, the owners of historical documents and artefacts living in Fukushima prefecture, and officers who have a duty for cultural heritage, historical materials, archives, or social education. In addition, we are sending it to the associations and institutions for preserving cultural heritage in the neighbouring prefectures.

We express our deepest sympathies with the sufferers of the East Japan Earthquake on 11th March.

The huge number of people who lost their homes and are being evacuating to shelters away from the devastated areas, so we worry whether this mail can be received by them or not. If you can read this mail, we will appreciate hearing your information about the safety of the people who have a duty for cultural heritage and their present condition of the structures which are preserve historical material. Fortunately, the staff in Fukushima Historical Museum where our office was located are all safe, and the visitors, too.

After restarting the Fukushima Network last November, while we had been looking for participants and working out a plan for grasping the present condition and whereabouts of the said historical material, we were stricken by the great earthquake which we had been afraid of. In the hit area, because all mobiles, telephones, e-mail and the Internet went dead, we could not grasp the information as and when it happened. Such a situation continued for some time, so that has caused much distress to us.

The Fukushima Historical Museum in Fukushima Prefectural Culture Centre where our secretarial office was located was also seriously damaged by this quake, and the building has been not available for use. Although it wasn’t broadcast on TV widely, the Nakadori area in Fukushima City, Aizu City, and other cities were also seriously affected. I too escaped by a hairbreadth from a collapsing building. Moreover, the Fukushima Cultural Heritage centre, Shirakawa office ‘Mahoron’ which our foundation has managed also suffered grave damage. This centre is also closed for the foreseeable future.

At present, we temporarily set up our office in the changing room of the theatre in our building. The Internet connection has already been restored at last, so we opened a temporary blog and have started to integrate and send information.

As a result of the fact that investigating and rescuing activities cannot be carried out due to the nuclear plant accident, the official number of victims in Fukushima has not risen although it undoubtedly will. The safety of sufferers and health are still in a precarious situation and our supply of gasoline has run dry, as well as that of paraffin oil, and food. Added to this, the damage is increasing due to aftershocks, and we cannot foresee what will happen at the nuclear plant. In such a situation, we cannot begin to rescue the historical material and cultural heritage.

Moreover, because of the evacuation from the Fukushima nuclear plant, all of the civil service in Fukushima prefecture are escaping to surrounding prefectures along with residents in streams. There is no telling when we will be able to start reconstruction.

However, the owners’ whereabouts and safety is still uncertain, so that we cannot prepare for rescuing historical material although we will have to carry out such activities in the near future.

We need as much information as possible and as soon as possible. Please contact us.


About Nerwork for Historical Materials
A volunteer group for preserving Cultural Heritage suffered from natural disasters

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