For Elderly, Echoes of War's Horrors in Post-Quake Japan





NATORI, Japan — Hirosato Wako stared at the ruins of his small fishing hamlet: skeletons of shattered buildings, twisted lengths of corrugated steel, corpses with their hands twisted into claws. Only once before had he seen anything like it: World War II.

“I lived through the Sendai air raids,” said Mr. Wako, 75, referring to the Allied bombings of the northeast’s largest city. “But this is much worse.”

For the elderly who live in the villages lining Japan’s northeastern coast, it is a return to a past of privation that their children have never known. As in so much of the Japanese countryside, young people have largely fled, looking for work in the city. The elderly who remained are facing devastation and possible radiation contamination, a challenge equal only to the task this generation faced when its defeated, despairing nation had to rebuild from the rubble of the war....



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