Controversy over boat swept up onto roof in tsunami

The Japanese Government has been in talks about turning the 109-tonne catamaran Hamayuri, which has been perched on top of a building since 11 March, into a memorial

The 27-metre Hamayuri was swept 1300ft inland up onto the roof of a two-storey building after being caught up in the Japanese tsunami in March and there has been much discussion since about what to do with the precariously positioned boat.

According to the Daily Yomiuri, one option the government has been discussing is turning the boat into a memorial, either at its present location or somewhere else, so it can serve as a reminder of the tsunami and the devastation it brought to the region.

However, the Otsuchicho town government has reservations about the plan. The Daily Yomiuri quotes the Otsuchicho Vice Mayor, Masaaki Tobai, as saying, “What the prefecture’s thinking is quite understandable, but when we consider the feelings of the town’s residents, we can’t say yes so easily.”

Prior to the tsunami the 27-metre catamaran was used as a tourist boat, working from its home port of Kamaishi in Iwate Prefecture. Since the tsunami it has been perched atop a hostel’s roof in the nearby town of Otsuchi.