Rescue Project Going on to Recover Disaster-hit Documents
October 2011, the Kanagawa Prefectural Archives started restoration work of official documents transferred from Rikuzen-takata City, Iwate Prefecture, which was affected by the tsunami of the Great East Japan Earthquake.The tsunami-hit documents were heavily damaged by the muddy seawater, and became unusable for administrative work. The mission of the rescuers is to recover the documents so that they can be used as official documents again.
The Kanagawa Prefectural Government (K.P.G.) received a request from
Mayor of Rikuzen-takata City for restoration of documents damaged by the Great East Japan Earthquake.Upon this request, the rescue team was organized in the K.P. Archives.The rescue team consists of 12 full-time staff who were employed utilizing the emergency job creation subsidies from the nation.One of the members is an evacuee to Kanagawa from the affected area.
The rescue team visited Rikuzen-takata City twice, and transported 800 batches of documents the City requested to recover and preserve permanently.At present, the team is engaged in the recovery work in the rescue room of the K.P. Archives.
The cause of the documents’ deterioration varies; earth and sand contained in the tsunami, metal parts rusted by the salt in the sea water, and mold grown in the long-continued wet condition.There are also pages stuck together, torn, missed or distorted in the rolling waves.
To recover the documents from this damage, the team takes various approaches, including drying of the pages using electric fans, removal of mold and sterilization, dry-cleaning procedures, removal of damaged metal parts, and replacement with new one.Lastly, they rebind the documents with new cover sheet to complete the work.
The Kanagawa Prefectural Archives is proudly conducting this rescue project believing that this project can contribute to the step forward in the reconstruction of the affected areas, though little. It also helps strengthen the crisis management function of the prefecture.