One Month After Japan’s Noto Earthquake; Families Pray, Wait for Return of Loved Ones

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A woman places a bouquet at the ruins in the Asaichi morning market street in Wajima, Ishikawa Prefecture, on Thursday.

One month has passed since the Noto Peninsula Earthquake, which measured a maximum of 7 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale. In Ishikawa Prefecture, 240 people died, including 15 suspected disaster-related deaths, and more than 14,000 people are living in evacuation centers.

The figures of those mourning disaster victims can be seen from the morning in affected areas. The city of Nanao is making step-by-step progress toward recovery with a market reopening and applications for temporary housing starting to be accepted.

People were looking at ruins and joining hands in prayer amid the drizzle around Asaichi morning market street in central Wajima, which was hit by a massive fire.

Shortly after 9 a.m., Kazuhiko Soryo, 53, visited the area around the burned remains of his house. He has been going there every day from the evacuation center to keep a lookout for the community.

“Nothing has changed in the last month [since the earthquake],” Soryo said. “I’ve been living here for 53 years. I want to live here again, no matter what kind of house it is.”

About 50,800 square meters had been reduced to ashes and 300 buildings were damaged by fire, according to a survey by the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry’s National Institute for Land and Infrastructure Management. The city’s tourism association said the Wajima morning market was a tourist spot that attracted more than 500,000 visitors a year before the COVID-19 pandemic, but there are no prospects for its reconstruction.

In Ishikawa Prefecture, 15 people remain unaccounted for and 11 are of them are residents of Wajima. Families are waiting for the return of their loved ones.