Japanese students create film on Tohoku's 'rebirth'

High school students publicize the film at a cinema complex in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, earlier this week.

High school students in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures have completed a documentary film that shows areas affected by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake.

The 98-minute movie titled "The Rebirth of Tohoku - WA, Japan Rising Towards the Future 2011-2014" was created by about 30 high school students who participated last summer in an educational project supported by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The film, subtitled in Japanese "Death, reconstruction and future as seen by children," features the current situation in eight areas hit by the disaster including the town of Otsuchi in Iwate Prefecture, Kesennuma in Miyagi Prefecture, and the town of Okuma in Fukushima Prefecture, in the style of an omnibus. The film also includes images from a cultural festival in Paris last year organised by high school students to showcase the recovery of the disaster-hit areas.

The documentary depicts post-disaster situations, including a student who survived the tsunami triggered by the earthquake and a farm household that discarded all harvested fruit due to concerns over the crisis at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

Koki Sato, 18, a third-year student at Fukushima prefecture-run Yumoto High School and one of the film's producers, also appeared on screen to report about the local fishing industry in Iwaki, which has been plagued by harmful rumours about the nuclear crisis. "Fish from Fukushima Prefecture are not stocked at my grandfather's store now," he said. About the film, Sato said, "I want the audience to know about the current situation, in which reconstruction is delayed."

The film consistently takes the perspective of the victims. Some members of the audience shed tears, saying they were moved by children who are seriously facing up to their situation and trying to deal with the disaster.

The film will be screened until Sunday at the cinema complex Pole Pole Iwaki, and is scheduled to be shown in Fukushima on Saturday. Screenings are also planned for both Iwate and Miyagi prefectures.