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Wednesday, February 17, 2016, 15:00 - 16:00

5th Anniversary Series for 3.11 Disaster
Katsunobu Sakurai
Mayor of Minami Soma City, Fukushima
Language: The speech and Q & A will be in Japanese with English

 Returning From The Brink

 Five years after the Tohoku disaster, Mayor Katsunobu Sakurai is still fighting to revive his beloved Minamisoma. It has been an uphill task: Over 71,000 people lived there before March 11, 2011. During the peak of the nuclear crisis, the population fell to under 10,000. The disaster left about 1,470 dead or missing.

 Mayor Sakurai briefly became one of the most famous faces of Japan's disaster when he posted an 11-minute video on YouTube pleading for help. The quake and tsunami had pulverised the city's coast, but it was its proximity to the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant about 20km south that transformed the city's predicament into an existential crisis.

 Today, officially at least, the Daiichi plant is under control. Over 20,000 homes in Minamisoma have been decontaminated from radioactive fallout, at enormous expense. But thousands of former residents remain scattered throughout Japan in over 300 different locations. The crisis has worsened the profile of the already aging coastal city.

 Mayor Sakurai has kindly agreed to come back to the FCCJ to discuss these problems, his city's future, and his views on government plans to restart many of Japan's idling nuclear reactors. He turned 60 years old last month but shows no sign of slowing down, despite the enormous strains that the events of five years ago put on his shoulders.

 Come and hear what the mayor has to say.

 Please reserve in advance, 3211-3161 or on the website (still & TV cameras inclusive). Reservations and cancellations are not complete without confirmation.

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