Floodgates that shut automatically in the event of a disaster have become operational in Iwate Prefecture, northeastern Japan. The area was hit by massive tsunami in the 2011 earthquake.
Forty-eight volunteer fire brigade personnel died in the prefecture while they were closing floodgates and carrying out other related activities at the time of the disaster.
To prevent a recurrence, authorities have been building levees and floodgates that automatically shut down when a tsunami warning is issued.
The new gates began functioning on Monday at 8 locations in the prefecture.
When activated, they shut completely in a minimum of 6 minutes. They can also be closed remotely by officials at the prefectural office and other places should the automatic system fail.
The head of a local fire brigade said he feels full of emotion to see a new system in place to protect lives. He noted that his brigade members will continue to offer guidance to residents as there could be a tsunami beyond assumptions.
The prefecture plans to make the automatic floodgate system operational at 220 locations in coastal areas by 2019.
Source and image: NHK