8 Mars 2017
Solar-powered flower-shaped lights glimmer near some flowers on the abandoned land of the former Ukedo post office, which was engulfed by the tsunami spawned by the March 11, 2011, Great East Japan Earthquake, in Namie, Fukushima Prefecture, on Feb. 16. (Shigetaka Kodama)
By SHIGETAKA KODAMA/ Staff Writer
NAMIE, Fukushima Prefecture--Lonely lights glow in the dark in a deserted area near the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, a symbol of a father’s resolute hope that his missing son may yet return.
The flower-shaped lights are solar-powered, charging during daytime and automatically turning on after sunset.
“I thought if I put lights here, my son will come home,” said Kazuo Sato, 75. “Six years have passed, but I still cannot give up.”
Sato’s son, Kenichi, 41, had been sent to work at the Ukedo post office here from Naraha post office in Naraha, also in Fukushima Prefecture, just before the disaster.
The Ukedo district was engulfed by the tsunami triggered by the magnitude-9.0 Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011, and Kenichi has not been seen since.
The area, still subject to an evacuation order due to the nuclear disaster, is almost completely dark, as nobody lives here and no street lights remain. But with Sato's glimmer of hope, he wanted to light up the darkness for his missing son.