Onagawa was already in decline when it was obliterated in 2011 by the Tohoku tsunami. Can it both rebuild and rejuvenate itself?
On the shore of eastern Japan a wrecked police station lies on its side, ripped from the ground by the tsunami that devastated the country in 2011.
We are going to keep that building as a reminder of the disaster, says Yoshinori Taura, assistant director of the town of Onagawas recovery promotion division. To make sure the memories are passed to the next generation.
This is about more than sentiment. Onagawa was obliterated by the tsunami; as it builds a new future, the ruined police station will be a daily reminder to run to high ground whenever the tsunami siren sounds.
But the reconstruction is about more than keeping the town safe from natural disasters. The municipality is also trying to find a way to build a thriving, bustling community despite massive population decline. The tsunami only accelerated Onagawas precipitous shrinking, which is now the fastest of any of the countrys municipalities: between 1965 and 2011, the population halved, to 10,000. It has now dropped to around 6,500.