Gold bars given to tsunami victims from mystery benefactor
At least three people in the small Japanese fishing port of
Ishinomaki have received gold bars from a mystery benefactor through the
The town was devastated by the 2011 tsunami, and most of it has still not been rebuilt.
In total, the gold bars received so far are thought to be worth around $250,000.
The townspeople say they do not know who has sent the gold, but they hope to use it to restore the area.
Rupert Wingfield-Hayes reports from Tokyo. Watch Video BBC
MYSTERY GOLD GIFTS FOR TSUNAMI-WRACKED JAPAN PORT
TOKYO (AFP) – A Japanese city devastated by the 2011 tsunami has
received anonymous gifts of gold worth more than $250,000 in a
phenomenon dubbed a “goodwill gold rush” ahead of the second anniversary
of the disaster.
The president of the company which operates the port in the
northeastern city of Ishinomaki last week received a parcel containing
two slabs of gold each weighing one kilogram (2.2 pounds).
“Since it was labelled as ‘miscellaneous goods,’ I casually opened
the box,” thinking it must be books or the like as it was heavy, said
Kunio Sunow, president of the Ishinomaki Fish Market Co. Ltd.
“I was stunned because what’s in there was 24k gold in two plates.
One was wrapped in brown paper and the other in a page taken from a
magazine — both were sitting in bubble sheets,” he told AFP by telephone
The parcel had been sent anonymously from Nagano city northwest of Tokyo with no message.
“Just looking at 24k gold can encourage people as it has a presence.
It’s great to know we haven’t been forgotten,” Sunow said, adding he had
not yet decided how to use the gift.
Japanese media said a non-profit group in Ishinomaki that has been
supporting its revival had also received two kilograms of gold bullion
and at least one more group got more than one kilogram.
The gifts have mystified Japanese people, prompting the
mass-circulation Asahi newspaper to call the phenomenon a “goodwill gold
rush” in Ishinomaki.
The city, some 350 kilometres (220 miles) northeast of Tokyo, was
devastated by the 9.0 earthquake and massive tsunami it generated on
March 11, 2011.
The disaster killed nearly 19,000 people, including more than 3,000
in Ishinomaki, and sparked the world’s worst nuclear accident in a
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