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Activity Reports

To Restore the City of Fisheries: Aiding Factories

November 24, 2011

Volunteer members washing away the mud from pallets that were washed away by the tsunami.

The Ishinomaki port and surrounding areas are some of the areas most severely affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. Many factories and industries affiliated with fisheries suffered serious damage. This is a report of relief being carried near the ports to eventually lead to the recovery of the fishing industry.

This report focuses on a visit to Mitsuwa Seihyo, one of the many factories in the area. This factory plays the important role of making the ice that keeps seafood fresh on the vessels and during transportation to all over Japan. The machines that produce the ice have been repaired and are in working condition, however the pallets used to carry and store the ice were all washed away by the tsunami. Those pallets that were successfully recovered were either damaged beyond repair or too dirty to be used. The factory requested assistance from volunteers to help wash the few pallets still possibly usable.

As can be seen in the picture, the pallets were covered in dried up dirt.

The first step was to wash away the superficial dirt with high-pressure washing equipment.

Then came the step to keep on brushing.

Finally comes the step to wash away the final remains, and brush away whatever is left.

The pallets in these photographs weigh around 100 kilos each, and so the most arduous part of the process is to carry the pallets and flip them for washing. As can be seen in the background, hundreds of pallets needed to be cleaned. Currently an average of 30 pallets are being cleaned per day. Actually, the factory had ordered 1000 new pallets from a company in Wakayama prefecture to cover for the missing pallets, however this company was affected by typhoon No. 12 and is not yet able to confirm when the pallets can be delivered. This is another reason the volunteers’ work at the port is so important to the local community.

This is a picture of 7 blocks of ice being carried away on the clean pallets by a fork lift.

Then the ice is carried to the ice crushing machine…

…and then the ice is packed onto the trucks and ships for transportation.


Sendai, the city of forests, and Ishinomaki, the city of water. Ishinomaki is given this second name because of its rich resources of the sea. Even once the fishermen are able to go back to the sea, they have no means of preserving, producing, or transporting the catch of the day. To think that fresh seafood will be delivered to shops and homes all over Japan from this port so heavily damaged by the tsunami gives new hope and motivation to the volunteers here in Ishinomaki.