The committee mentioned in the title was jointly founded by many cultural heritage/fine arts organizations in early April 2011, in order to accommodate a request from the Agency for Cultural Affairs. We have been putting our effort to salvage precious local cultural properties of disaster-affected museums in Iwate, Miyagi, Fukushima, and Ibaragi prefectures. During our two years of activities, numerous exhibits and collections of cultural properties were salvaged from more than 90 facilities, of which disaster-affected prefectures requested help. As a result, the necessity of nationwide salvage activities is determined to have been reduced, and the salvage committee was disbanded at the end of March, 2013.
Currently, many of the disaster-affected cultural properties have been temporarily repaired in facilities of a number of associated supporting organizations, and are temporarily stored in provided storages. However, there are also many that require full-scale restoration, and it is expected to take a long time to safely return those to the owners. Therefore, despite the disbandment of the salvage committee, participating organizations made a commitment to share information regarding disaster-affected cultural properties, and cooperate with each area of expertise for full-scale restoration and repairs of the cultural properties.
Meanwhile, records of the two years of activities that were provided from the participating organizations (daily report) have been gradually integrated into a database and compiled by a records group of the salvage committee, which was located in the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo. Under an initiative by the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo, we are planning to compile data in the future, which will depict a full picture of the salvage activities, by linking to related information including images. We would like to continue our data analysis to provide basic materials for discussing preparations for possible major disasters in the future.
Our salvage activities for disaster-affected cultural properties were deeply supported by generous donations and physical and mental support from many people, companies, and organizations from all over the world. At this time of disbandment of the committee, we would like to reiterate our appreciation for your previous and continuous support and cooperation for full-scale restoration of the disaster-affected cultural properties.
KAMEI Nobuo, Director General, National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo
(Former Chairman, Committee for Salvaging Cultural Properties Affected by the 2011 Earthquake off the Pacific Coast of Tohoku and Related Disasters)