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Source: Facebook
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Source: Facebook
World News

Japanese church community still reeling from Fukushima nuclear disaster

The pastor of a church located just three miles away from the epicentre of a nuclear disaster ten years ago says he hopes to see the building host worship services once again.

Fukushima First Bible Baptist in Okuma has not been touched in a decade after it was caught up in the nuclear catastrophe, which was caused by an earthquake and subsequent tsunami. 

"In the past when I've come back here and looked around, I couldn't stop my tears from falling," Reverend Akira Sato told AFP.

The church is located within a small area where the government continues to enforce a no-go rule due to the danger of radiation.

The building is worn from being left dormant for ten years. A notice for the upcoming Sunday mass due to take place in March 2011 still hangs on the billboard outside.

Bibles and hymn books can be seen on the podium, alongside an organ that has not been played since the disaster. 

Another of the church's staff, pastor Masashi Sato, was called upon to get everyone out of the building on the day of the earthquake. 

"I evacuated carrying just a few bottles of water and the Bible," he said, noting that it felt as if he had lived through "a tribulation sent by God".

One member of the church was killed in the tsunami and several others died following the evacuation. Congregants also had to face rumour that it was possible for them to "infect" others with radiation. 

"It was a turbulent year," said one elderly member. "I was deprived of my daily life in Okuma all of a sudden. If I had not had faith, I would have resented what happened to me."

While the church has now settled at a different location, Reverend Sato says he one day wants to return to Okuma. 

"I may build a hut and spend the rest of my life there," he said. "Appreciating every word of the Bible and holding heartwarming and humble hymn gatherings: those are my dreams for the future."




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