Photo/IllutrationThe wrecked interior of the former town hall in Otsuchi, Iwate Prefecture, on June 13. Damage to the second floor ceiling shows the destructive power of the tsunami. (Yosuke Fukudome)

  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion

OTSUCHI, Iwate Prefecture--Time stands still at the building here that served as Otsuchi's town hall when the earthquake and tsunami disaster struck in 2011.

Reporters were given a tour of the wrecked structure June 13 ahead of moves to demolish it next week.

Twenty staff members working on disaster countermeasures in front of the building were swept away, as were eight who were trapped inside.

A bereaved family of one of the victims filed a temporary injunction June 11 to stop the demolition work on grounds further investigation was needed to ascertain whether the local authorities could have done more to save lives.

The interior of the building is just a shell. The tsunami spawned by the magnitude-9.0 Great East Japan Earthquake reached the second floor of the building.

Much of the city was obliterated, and a high number of senior officials perished, which has hindered reconstruction work.

The floors of the building are littered with debris, not a single glass windowpane remains, the walls are crumbling and a clock is frozen at the time the disaster struck.

Twenty-three others managed to reach the roof via a metal ladder fixed to the wall.