Location of Ōtsuchi in Iwate Prefecture
|• Total||200.58 km2 (77.44 sq mi)|
|• Density||83/km2 (220/sq mi)|
|Time zone||Japan Standard Time (UTC+9)|
Since 1973, the University of Tokyo has maintained a marine research laboratory in Ōtsuchi. It is now called the International Coastal Research Center (ICRC) and is managed by the Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute.
2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami
On March 11, 2011, the town was devastated by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami. The tsunami obliterated the harbor and low-lying areas, while higher parts of the town were spared, though they did suffer some damage from the earthquake and the many aftershocks. About half the city was inundated by the tsunami. The tsunami destroyed all but 30 of 650 fishing boats and completely wiped-out the town's sea farm industry.
City firemen manually closed the 12 water gates in the port's tsunami wall, but the wall was unable to hold back the waves. Eight city firemen were dead or missing. As of 31 August 2011, 799 residents of the town were confirmed dead, with 608 others still missing, about 10% of the town's total population of 16,000.
Members of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society were on the waterfront doing reconnaissance of porpoise hunting when the earthquake happened; they fled up hill and were able to walk back to waterfront the following morning to assess damages.
The University of Tokyo's ICRC sustained extensive damage during the tsunami with water reaching the laboratories on the third floor.
As a youth Ken Sasaki noted that his home of Ōtsuchi is located on the same latitude as Fort Bragg, California and in 2001 he contacted then Mayor Lindy Peters and visited with a delegation to open discussions on a sister city agreement. Fort Bragg students visited Ōtsuchi in 2002 and the Sister-City proclamation was solidified in 2005 by subsequent Mayor, Dave Turner. Other student exchanges were held in 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010 and the next exchange was planned for July 2011. Following the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami devastation Mayor Turner ordered that city flags be flown half staff until the end of March to honour the thousands of lives lost.
- Kyodo News, "Death toll may surpass 10,000 in Miyagi", Japan Times, 14 March 2011, p. 1.
- NHK, "Tsunami flooded 100 square kilometers of city land", 29 March 2011.
- Fukada, Takahiro, "Iwate fisheries continue struggle to recover", Japan Times, 21 September 2011, p. 3.
- Fukada, Takahiro, and Setsuko Kamiya, "Six months on, few signs of recovery", Japan Times, 11 September 2011, p. 1.
- Ito, Shingo, (Agence France-Presse/Jiji Press), "Iwate firefighter gave his life to save others", Japan Times, 9 April 2011, p. 3.
- Fukada, Takahiro, "http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20110915f2.html New mayor's warnings fell on deaf ears", Japan Times, 15 September 2011, p. 3.
- "Cove Guardians Witness Disaster in Otsuchi, Japan". Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. March 12, 2011. Retrieved March 16, 2011.
- "Nanaimo woman survives tsunami in Japan (includes 'after' photo)". bclocalnews.com. March 16, 2011. Retrieved March 16, 2011.
- University of Tokyo AORI. "Damage to ICRC". Retrieved 8 July 2013.
- "Death toll to top 15,000 in quake-hit Miyagi alone: police". Kyodo News. March 20, 2011. Retrieved March 20, 2011.
- "Help Otsuchi, a letter from our Mayor". Retrieved 18 March 2011.
- "Deep Ties Between Sister Cities of Otsuchi, Japan and Fort Bragg, California Spur Community Action and Creation of a Relief Fund". All Voices - Local to Global News. 16 March 2011. Retrieved 18 March 2011.
- "Sister city devastated". Fort Bragg Advocate News. 17 March 2011. Retrieved 18 March 2011.
Media related to Ōtsuchi, Iwate at Wikimedia Commons
- Official website (Japanese)