Power supply resumes at Unoosaki lighthouse in Soma

2 November 2012

The Unoosaki lighthouse in Soma, Fukushima Prefecture, has resumed full operations after power was restored 19 months after the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami.

As a result, the lighthouse is now fully able to help ships safely navigate the waters off Fukushima Prefecture.

The Japan Coast Guard's office in the prefecture, the Fukushima Coast Guard Office, unveiled the lighthouse to the media on Nov. 1, which is observed as "lighthouse day" in Japan.

The Unoosaki lighthouse escaped the huge tsunami as it is built on a hill in Soma's Obama district. But areas near the lighthouse were hard hit. The tsunami washed away embankments at the Osu coast near the lighthouse and electric poles in the area.

After the disaster, the lighthouse relied on battery-powered light emitting diode (LED) bulbs for its operation.

Power supply was reconnected on Oct. 25 after utility poles were rebuilt.

Lights from the LED bulbs reached only 3 nautical miles, or about 5.5 kilometers. With the restoration of power supply, the light from the lighthouse can be seen 17.5 nautical miles, or about 32 km, away.

As a large amount of debris still remains around the lighthouse, workers continue to clean up the area and to restore embankments. Residents are still barred from visiting the lighthouse.

The Fukushima Coast Guard Office said it hopes the lighthouse's lights will become "the symbol of restoration."

(Translated by Kyodo News)