Kodiak is the setting for tsunami documentary

Kodiak Daily MirrorOctober 23, 2012 

KODIAK -- A Japanese broadcasting group is filming a documentary about tsunami debris in Kodiak this week.

NHK, Japan's national public broadcasting station, is filming a documentary about tsunami debris in Alaska to raise awareness about the amount of debris the U.S. is receiving.

"Most of this is about awareness," said Noboru Nakashima, NHK's Los Angeles bureau chief. "The tsunami debris is a big trouble to the North American people. It not only affects the Japanese people, but the world."

Nakashima covers news on the West Coast and has been following the tsunami story closely.

Producer Jun Matsuda, from Tokyo, said the debris in Alaska is more extensive, which is why a reporting crew came to Kodiak.

"The amount of debris in Alaska is much more here than the rest of the West Coast," Matsuda said in Japanese while Tomoko Kawasumi translated. "It's also it's difficult to reach the beaches here. Alaska is so large and sparsely populated. It looks like it's more difficult to gather the debris and process."

The purpose of the documentary is to highlight how difficult it is to deal with the tsunami debris that has been collected.

The team spent Tuesday morning shooting footage of marine and tsunami debris at the NOAA law enforcement office at Gibson Cove.

In Kodiak, all marine and tsunami debris collected has to be separated by material types into large bags, loaded into a container van and shipped to Washington. Island Trails Network provides these services and has stockpiled debris from summer cleanup operations in Gibson Cove for the sorting process.

Determining what debris is from the tsunami is difficult because a lot of the marine debris floating in the ocean already comes from Japan. Things like buoys aren't usually considered to be tsunami debris.

The film crew searched through several bags to see if they could find any tsunami debris. They found part of a refrigerator believed to have been from Japan.

"We're looking for things that were a part of somebody's life before," Kawasumi said.

The film crew interviewed Island Trails Network executive director Andy Schroeder about the type of tsunami and marine debris he has seen coming into Kodiak, and also talked with Tom Pogsona, ITN's director of education, outreach and marine programs.

NHK has already filmed a documentary featuring Chris Pallister, president of Gulf of Alaska Keeper. The crew filmed tsunami cleanup efforts on Montague Island and Yakutat, and also visited Homer.

The film crew plans to visit Kodiak's beaches to look for more debris before they leave at the end of the week.

The documentary featuring Kodiak will air in Japan in November.

Information from: Kodiak (Alaska) Daily Mirror, http://www.kodiakdailymirror.com

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