Post office destroyed by tsunami reopens 11 years later(津波で全壊の郵便局、11年ぶり再開)

Yuzo Endo stands in front of the Toyoma Post Office in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture.(豊間郵便局の前に立つ遠藤雄三さん)

 A local post office in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, reopened for business last month, 11 years after being completely destroyed in the tsunami following the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. "I want this to be a ost office where anyone can drop by comfortably," says Yuzo Endo, now the third-generation postmaster of the post office in the Toyoma district.

 2011年の東日本大震災の津波で全壊した福島県いわき市豊間地区の豊間郵便局が先月、11年ぶりに営業を再開した。祖父、父に続き親子3代で局長に就任した遠藤雄三さん(50)は、「誰もが気軽に立ち寄れる郵便局にしたい」 と話している。

 The Toyoma Post Office was established prior to World War II by the 50-year-old Endo's grandfather Akira inside the family's home. For nearly four decades from 1964 to 2002, his father Shoichiro served as the postmaster.


 Endo's desire to work in his hometown led him to choose the same path as his grandfather and father, and he joined what is now the Japan Post Group in 1997. In 2011, he was serving as postmaster of a different post office in Iwaki when the massive earthquake struck eastern Japan. His family emerged unscathed, but the family home that had housed the Toyoma Post office was completely destroyed by the tsunami.


 It would be a few years later that Endo learned of a plan to reopen the post office in a new location in the Toyoma district, which made his bond with his hometown grow stronger.
 When he told Shoichiro about his desire to work at the new post office, his father, making a comparison to the Shioyasaki Lighthouse, a symbol of the area, replied, "The post office must be one that lights up the area."
 Shoichiro had been looking forward to seeing the new Toyoma Post Office, but passed away from an illness two years ago.


 During this year's Golden Week holidays, Endo personally visited about 200 homes in the area on foot to announce the reopening. Endo was prepared to be scolded by residents over the inconvenience of not having a local post office for 11 years, but they welcomed him warmly, saying they have been waiting for the reopening.
 The residents also recalled fond memories about his father, making him realize again how a post office is rooted in the community.


 "I'm happy to be able to work in Toyoma" Endo said at the opening ceremony for the new Toyoma Post Office in May. "I will do everything I can to have residents say, 'This post office is the best.'"

( Translated by The Japan News )


 【 2022年5月11日付・福島民友新聞掲載 】