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After the wave: In Japan, the long road to rebuild Kitakami

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Msnbc.com reporter Miranda Leitsinger and multimedia producer Jim Seida are traveling to Japan to chronicle the early moments of this ravaged region’s rebirth, and to meet some of the people who are leading the recovery in small ways. Today, they spoke with a road maintenance worker, Tsutomu Abe, 35, to learn more about the slow process of rebuilding Kitakami.

The reconstruction was going well, but a storm last week caused new damage, said Abe, who was not affected by the tsunami and who has signed on for a year of reconstruction work. “I don’t know if I can finish it within one year, or if I can bear to do it for another year because it’s hard work.

“It’s not just physically (tough) but getting the necessary equipment … they don’t have enough people, they don’t have enough tools, gears, to rebuild everything, “he said.


Jim Seida / msnbc.com

"Many of the people who were working here and in this area died," says Tsutomu Abe while taking a beak from repairing roads in Kitagamigawa, Sunday, June 5, 2011. Abe, 35, is from Tome city, about 20 kilometers inland than Kitagamigawa, and says his house was not affected and that all of his family and friends are safe.

Read more at WorldBlog and follow the team's ongoing journey on Facebook.