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The Canadian Press

Date: Thursday Mar. 15, 2012 12:34 PM ET

Japan seeks Tofino’s help in the aftermath of the tsunami

sunny dhillon
VANCOUVER- From Monday's Globe and Mail
Published Sunday, Mar. 11, 2012 9:22PM EDT
Last updated Wednesday, Mar. 14, 2012 10:46AM EDT

As they kept one eye on Japanese ceremonies honouring thousands of people killed in last year’s earthquake and tsunami, residents of the Vancouver Island community of Tofino also watched the shore, where debris believed to be from the disaster continues to wash up and recently prompted a plea from consular officials.

Tofino mayor Perry Schmunk met with the Japanese consul-general just over one week ago. Mr. Schmunk said the consul-general, who is based in Vancouver, had a request for residents and visitors of Tofino, as well as nearby communities.
トフィーノのPerry Schmunk市長は、1週間ほど前に日本領事と会談しました。Shmunk氏は、バンクーバーの領事が周辺の地域に対してと同様、トフィーノの住民と旅行者に対して要望があったのだ、と述べました。

“Over the next year or two, we are inevitably going to see more stuff come ashore,” Mr. Schmunk said in an interview. “In the event that it is from Japan, that it is traceable in any way - like a unique mark, name, photo - his message to us is that they will make every effort possible to get this material back to the people affected by the event.”
「来年、再来年にかけて、さらに多くのものが海岸にやってくるのを見ることは避けられません。」とSchmunk氏はインタビューで話しました。「日本からの流れてきたもので、どんな形でも痕跡をたどれるもの-ユニークな印、名前、写真のような- は、被災した人々にあらゆる努力をして返すつもりであると事を伝えられました。」

Debris believed to be connected to the disaster has been washing up on Tofino’s shores since late last year. Lumber and bottles featuring Japanese characters were among the first items to be spotted, and the mayor himself soon found a sock and toothbrush with similar markings.

Jean-Paul Froment holds debris that washed up on beaches near Tofino, Vancouver Island. Froment has found and catalogued various items including empty plastic Japanese drink bottles and Japanese-stamped wood, possibly from the first wave of debris created by Japan's March earthquake and tsunami.
Deddeda Stemler/The Globe and Mail

Last week, a large grey barrel was discovered on the sand. The Japanese lettering indicated it once held some type of seasoning.

A connection between the items and the tsunami has not been confirmed, a fact the mayor is quick to point out. None of the items discovered so far is believed to be of great significance.

Terry Lake, B.C.’s Environment Minister, said the province in the past few weeks made preliminary contact with the Japanese consulate about the tsunami debris.
BC州環境相Terry Lake大臣は、ここ数週間、津波からの瓦礫について、日本領事にあらかじめ連絡をとっていたのだと話しました。

“We’re working with the Japanese consul-general to make sure that we have processes in place that are sensitive to the people that did lose their property,” Mr. Lake said. “Some of these will have high emotional value. We want to make sure that we handle any debris with sensitivity, to make sure that people in Japan who have lost these items will feel they’re being well looked after by people finding it.”

The province has also been in touch with the consul-general about what to do in the unlikely event human remains wash ashore.

The consul-general could not be reached for comment Sunday.

Provincial and federal officials have formed a tsunami debris committee to ensure all ministries and governments understand their roles and responsibilities. The committee is also working with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Mr. Lake said the committee is still in its early days, but anyone finding debris that appears to be valuable can report the finding through the provincial Ministry of Environment’s website. That information was only posted online Friday, and Mr. Lake said no reports have yet come in.

A protocol on how to handle the material has not been established.

Mr. Lake said the vast majority of debris is expected to arrive in 2013, though that doesn’t mean some of it can’t wash up sooner. Just how much will reach B.C. or U.S. shores remains to be seen.

Because of the nuclear accidents that occurred in Japan last March, samples of the debris will be tested for radioactive contamination. The committee has said the risk of contamination is slight. Testing methods - as with many other elements in the Canadian response -are still being determined.

“From everything I know, we’re in uncharted territory,” Mr. Schmunk said.


B.C., coastal states united on plan to clear tsunami debris


VANCOUVER- The Canadian Press

Published Wednesday, Mar. 14, 2012 10:46AM EDT
Last updated Wednesday, Mar. 14, 2012 9:17PM EDT

A woman kneels near a pile of debris while offering prayers in the earthquake and tsunami devastated city of Rikuzentakata, Iwate prefecture, northeastern Japan, Sunday, March 11, 2012.
Koji Sasahara/AP

As the massive field of lumber, refrigerators, fishing boats and other wreckage from last year’s Japanese tsunami drifts across the Pacific Ocean, state and provincial governments along coastal North America are planning what to do when pieces of the devastation arrive on their shores.

The governments of British Columbia, Washington state, Oregon and California agreed this week to work together on a plan for tsunami debris, which experts believe could begin washing ashore in Canada and the United States later this year or early 2013.

Each of those jurisdictions has already started working on its own local plans for potential tsunami waste, from cleaning up wreckage to returning anything of value to Japan, and this week's agreement aims to co-ordinate those efforts.

“What we’re trying to do is get us all sharing the same information so we’re able to leverage the resources of the entire coastal community to be able to talk to our local jurisdictions about here’s what you can expect, here’s some misnomers about what you may have heard and here’s what you might want to do,” said Kelly Huston of the California Emergency Management Agency.
私たちがしようとしているのは、皆が同じ情報を共有し、自分たちの管轄地区で、何が予測できるのか、耳にすることについて、何が誤っているのか、そして、何をしたいのか、などについて話ができるように、沿岸地域全体の情報源を活用することができるのです。」とカリフォルニア緊急管理庁のKelly Hustonは述べました。

“Our biggest challenge is that people don’t know what to expect.”

As much as five million tonnes of debris were swept into the ocean off Japan last March when a magnitude-9 earthquake and resulting tsunami destroyed entire communities, killed 19,000 people and led to a nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant.

Much of that waste likely sank immediately, but more than one million tonnes is believed to be floating in the Pacific Ocean. Researchers at the University of Hawaii have estimated that only one to five per cent of debris still in the ocean could reach North America.


Water bottles, buoys and other debris with Japanese markings have already been reported washing ashore on the west coast of Vancouver Island and in the United States, but none has been confirmed to be from the tsunami. Experts have said some may have other sources, such as fishing vessels at sea, or may have floated away from Japan before last March.

This week’s agreement lists three areas for collaboration: communicating information about the tsunami to the public, ensuring beach cleanups are done safely, and attempting to return anything of sentimental value to Japan.

Mr. Huston said the largest area of concern is educating the public about what to do if they come across potential tsunami debris.

“It’s not going to be first responders that are finding this debris, it’s going to be the general public,” he said.

“If you see something that looks hazardous, don’t touch it, or give us a call, and if you find something that looks like it’s of value to people in Japan, let us know, as well.”

Part of that education will be dispelling the myth that tsunami debris will be radioactive. Mr. Huston said it's almost impossible that would be the case despite the attention paid to the Fukushinma nuclear crisis.

He said too much time has passed since the tsunami and most of the debris wasn’t from the area around the damaged nuclear plant.

Local authorities are being urged to clean up most debris as they would any other wreckage.

Dianna Parker of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which is co-ordinating the federal government response in the U.S., said the public will be urged to take special care if they encounter something intact that could have sentimental value to someone in Japan.
アメリカ政府の対応を調整しているアメリカ海洋大気庁のDianna Pakerは、日本の誰かにとって、心情的に貴重である可能性のある無傷のものについては、特別な配慮をするよう、促がしています。


“We’ve been working closely with the Japanese government, and they’ve expressed interest in helping return any items that can be traced back to a person,” said Ms. Parker.

“It would have to be really clear whose property it was and that it came from the tsunami, and if all those factors are there they are asking whoever found it to report it to the local authorities and the authorities can work with the Japanese consulate to help return the items.”

Even when debris does wash ashore, Ms. Parker said it may not be possible to pinpoint what actually came from the tsunami, especially if wreckage has broken apart at sea.

“It’s very difficult to fingerprint debris back to a source,” she said.

“We’ve been hearing reports of debris and buoys washing up on the West Coast already, and from our perspective, it’s difficult to tell where those buoys came from. Those types of things wash up from Asia all the time.”



ガンダーセン氏が言っていたように、 爆発当初、風が海に向かって吹いていました。まさに瓦礫が陸から流され始めたときに、放出された大量の放射能物質の70%以上はその、海に向かって漂っていたのです。











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