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Video: New fishing fleet signifies progress in Japan

  1. Closed captioning of: New fishing fleet signifies progress in Japan

    >>> now to japan . it has been exactly one year since that devastating earthquake and tsunami devastated the country, killing thousands and triggering a nuclear crisis. this weekend, millions of japanese are remembering that awful day and the long road to recovery since. nbc's ian williams reports from japan .

    >> reporter: at last, a reason to celebrate. a year after the tsunami swept through their town, the fishermen prepare to take the fleet of ten boats from the u.s.

    >> it was a great honor to build the boats for you people. you show a strong sense of community .

    >> reporter: this region was one of the hardest hit, thousands died. and the raging waters also destroyed 90% of the fishing fleet . boats were swept from their moorings like toys and dumped inland. fishing had been the main stay of the local economy.

    >> a lot of the boats that were lost were like these smaller boats. a big need for those.

    >> reporter: mostly for gathering oysters, scallops and seaweed. there's such a huge need for new boats here that they had to allocate these by lottery. in which 170 fishermen applied. this man was one of the lucky ones from the draw. i'm going to do a lot of fishing two this, he said. i lost everything. i'm starting with less than nothing. the boats were custom designed by general marine. a boat builder based in maine working closely with the fishermen. operation blessing a u.s. charity commissioned the boats in the u.s. because so many japanese yards were knocked out by the tsunami, bringing unexpected benefits back home.

    >> the u.s., the boat makers were out of work. so, you know, the japanese fishermen need boats.

    >> reporter: the ceremony today ended with a shower of rice cakes . designed to bring good fortune.

    >> to watch the people come back in this fashion, it's a great thing.

    >> reporter: sato was itching to get back on the sea. there were rich pickings to be had and no time to lose. ian williams , nbc news, japan .

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