The vision that saved a town from the Japanese tsunami

At the time it was built, they said it was too expensive. They said it was too high. Residents who had to sell their land to allow the project to move forward were bitter. Their Mayor was criticized and few truly believed in the twelve-year project.
Yet, on March 11, when a sixty foot tsunami slammed into the floodgate, the small town of Fudai, Japan was spared because of the fifty-one foot high floodgate. Though the tsunami destroyed the boats, docks, and warehouses outside of the floodgate, the town of 3,000 suffered no damage.
If the wall had been any shorter, it would not saved the town. A thirty-three foot wall did not save the town of Taro, Japan.
The floodgate was the vision of Mayor Kotaku Wamura. Wamura experienced the devastation of the 1933 earthquake and tsunami. He did not want to see his town ever suffer like that again. He envisioned a wall to span the 673 feet of the cove. He demanded it be over fifty feet high. His vision saved the town and all of the people in it.
Wamura died in 1997, but he saw what was coming.
His vision and understanding remind me of a proverb. Proverbs 22:3 says, “The prudent sees evil and hides himself, but the naïve go on, and are punished for it.” The wise look down the path, notice the warning signs, and get out before the trouble consumes them. ‘Prudence’ is a great little word. Literally, it means smooth skinned. The prudent are smooth, or crafty, enough to escape evil.
Even when other people do not see the problems ahead, we need to be wise enough to know what needs to be done in the present and the future. It is too easy to fail to imagine what might happen. But, what we fail to prepare for today will come back to haunt us tomorrow. The wise know this and do something about it.


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