The road from Fukushima to the coast crosses a mountain range which is home to racoons, monkeys and wild boar, but precious few people. The people are all crowded on the coastal strip, or were before the tsunami, or 3/11 as it’s known in Japan, struck.
I’m with Kirstie Sobue and my daughter Jo in the fishing village of Shinchi. We are here at the behest of Mr Sata, the editor of the Fukushima Minpo to see how the money which we raised in the Lake District for the Tsunami relief fund is being spent. It’s an extraordinary scene. If you stand on the village boundary and look towards the mountains everything is normal, with green paddy fields and the occasional farmhouse on the lower slopes.; dense forest above. Turn around and look coastwards and there is total devastation. Only one building still stands, the old fish market- every other house and shop in what used to be a community of 700 people has been swept away. Every single person who was in the village when the tsunami struck was killed.
There is a solitary simple shrine, hastily erected by the workmen who were sent to clear away the rubble. On it is a school badge which was found in the mud- it belonged to an eight year old girl who was caught by the wave and killed as she walked home from school.