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Fabric structures assist tsunami recovery

Industry News | August 1, 2012 | By:

More than 300 fishery ports in Japan’s Tohoku region were damaged by the March 2011
tsunami. The destruction of the ports and the fishery villages had a devastating effect on the local
industries and communities. Fishery vessels, nursery firms, markets, fish processing plants and
support industries such as ship building were left in ruin.

Nearly all of the fishery ports in Iwate and Miyagi prefectures, which have the most fishery
ports and fishery ships among Japanese prefectures, were seriously damaged. Ishinomaki fishery port
in Miyagi prefecture, considered the number one fishery port in Asia, is among them. About 1
kilometer of unloading quay at Ishinomaki collapsed. The transit sheds (facilities for loading and
unloading fishery products of the local wholesale fishery product market) were gone.

In the aftermath, a temporary transit shed was built in the area facing the west port of the
Ishinomaki Port, but it was too small. Following a dam construction, TSP Taiyo installed two temporary transit
sheds (94-by-28-meters and 44-by-28-meters) on the quay in November 2011. An additional
94-by-28-meter structure was completed later. The new transit sheds are steel frame fabric
structures utilizing Ferrari fabric. The construction of the first two structures is valued at about
140 million yen (about U.S. $1.8 million). The new installations are more than three times as large
as the temporary one in the west port. With walls and doors, the structures provide a sanitary
environment, prevent birds from entering, and protect workers from cold wind in the winter. They are
used mainly for landing catch from round haul netters.

“The transit sheds enable us to enhance work efficiency and to appeal that the Ishinomaki port is
steadily recovering to the normal operation,” says Mr. Kunio Suno, president of Ishinomaki Fishery
Market. “We expect the fish processing industry shall also be highly motivated with the completion
of the transit sheds.”

The transit sheds are a part of TSP Taiyo’s commitment to support the recovery of the local
economy and people’s lives.

“It was a tough project considering budget and the delivery,” says Ms. Mio Kawamura of Earthquake
Disaster Countermeasure Division, TSP Taiyo. “But as I saw so many people in the fishery industry
who lost their houses and were living in the temporary houses, yet were working extremely hard in
the severe environment to recover from the tsunami damage, I sincerely wanted to be of any help to

“On Oct. 31, 2011, two sheds were completed and some parts of the shed were open to the people,”
Ms. Kawamura adds. “To prepare for loading and unloading for the next morning, a lot of fishery
boats were getting to the shore. I was so impressed and glad to see a lot of local people looking at
the boats with happy expectations and about little girls saying ‘Welcome back!’ waving their small

Although the disaster occurred more than a year ago, the recovery has just begun. Little by
little, the port and surrounding area are recovering with the energy of the local people and the
specialty fabrics industry.

Kikuko Tagawa is the executive director of IFAI Japan.

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