Futoshi Toba – a mayor in a hurry to rebuild his city

4 years ago by in Featured, Japan

Futoshi Toba, mayor of Rikuzen-Takada, is already known for his determination to leave aside traditional Japanese reserve in order to speed up the rebuild of his city.

About 2,000 residents were killed by last year’s tsunami, or about 10 percent of the population, including mayor’s wife.

“If I tried to please everyone, we’d get nowhere,” Toba says. “People have to die for nothing? For their sake, I must rebuild our town, as their mayor, and as my wife’s husband.”

Toba has now new plans, he told CBS News – first a seawall and then a memorial park, a state-of-the-art, compact downtown.

The seawall would stretch about a mile long and will be 40 feet (12.1 meters) high and its construction could take six years.

Toba, however, is in a hurry. “It’s pointless to say, wait for six years, until the seawall is built. I’ve urged the prefecture to speed it up, but they just don’t get it. […] Even if it kills my political future, I must do what I think is right, and damn the consequences,” he says.