TOKYO, Japan, Mar 10 – Japanese Onagawa town, in cooperation with Japanese Heisei media company, organised, in conjunction with the screening of a documentary film to highlight Maskar, a multifunctional fishery processing plant mega-project, carried out by the Qatar Friendship Fund (QFF) in Onagawa.

The event, which commemorates the fifth anniversary of the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami, that struck north-eastern Japan in Mar, 2011, was organised, in recognition of Qatar’s efforts and endeavours, in extending a

helping hand to the Japanese people after the disaster.

It was attended by Qatari Ambassador to Japan, Yousef Mohamed Bilal, political dignitaries, businessmen and Mayor of Onagawa, Suda Yoshiak, along with senior director at Heisei, Yumiko Suda, among others.

The documentary movie entitled ‘Sanma and Qatar’ showed the people’s efforts in recovering from the disastrous aftermaths of the tsunami with the support of Qatar.

Sanma is a type of fish also known as the Pacific Saury.

The 2011 earthquake and massive tsunami devastated many coastal towns in Japan’s Tohoku region, that led to the critical damage of the fishing industry.

Prior to the disaster, Onagawa was renowned for its Saury “Sanma” catches, but as a result of the catastrophe 85 percent of the fishery infrastructure was destroyed.

This is particularly alarming, considering that over 60 percent of the people of Onagawa are employed in the fishing industry.

Reviving the fishing industry is now key to reversing this, not only for Onagawa, but also for nearby towns for whom ‘Maskar’ offers a beacon of hope.

The reconstruction of the fishing industry in Tohoku was a major priority for QFF to create job opportunities, rebuild the local economy and lay the foundations for a sustainable future.

One fish-processing plant built in 2012 by QFF in Onagawa, Miyagi Prefecture, kick-start redevelopment in the local area.

When the Maskar facility was built, using a donation from QFF, Onagawa was still profoundly damaged.

There were no other buildings along Onagawa’s coast, except for Maskar, to the extent that visiting missions would use the plant as a landmark for driving direction.

Maskar is surrounded by 10 other new fish-processing plants and their accompanying buildings.

More than 7,500 fishing industry workers now use Maskar to select, freeze and store their catch every day.

The effectiveness of Maskar has played an important role in the value of the fishermen’s catches.

The plant saw a record 8.3 billion Japanese yen (US$73.06 million) in transactions, between Apr and Dec, 2014, which has already exceeded the 7.7 billion yen (US$67.78 million) benchmark of 2010, before the disaster

Source: QNA