Man who lost daughter in Japan tsunami to run in Olympic torch relay

When Noriyuki Suzuki runs in the Tokyo Olympic torch relay, he won’t be alone.

Every stride he takes will be in memory of his daughter, Mai, as well as 73 other students and 10 teachers from Okawa Elementary School who died in the massive earthquake and tsunami that devastated northeastern Japan on 11th March 2021.

Suzuki found his daughter two days after the disaster when he saw a shoe protruding from the soil.

He started digging with his bare hands until he had dug out the entire shoe and saw his daughter’s name written on the back — Mai.

He believes his daughter, who was 12 years old at the time, and the others would still be alive had teachers led the students away from the tsunami, and not unknowingly toward it.

Suzuki says when he runs in the Olympic Torch Relay, he will wear a keepsake from his daughter to remember her.

The relay will start March 25th from Fukushima prefecture, the heart of the area that was hit by the disaster.

Watch Nial O’Reilly’s report in the video player above.


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