From April 13, the technical staff at our Kanagawa Factory Ashigara Site started to analyze the state of the photographs that Mr. Takai had entrusted to us. The prints came in variety of formats and conditions, and whilst many were kept in albums we were certain that a large portion could be salvaged through cleaning. On April 16 and 17, around 70 volunteers gathered at the factory's gymnasium and worked together to clean approximately 3,000 photographs. As a result of their experiences, we were able to complete our photo cleaning manual.
We immediately made plans to visit the Tohoku Region, and on April 22 we officially launched our interdepartmental Fujifilm "Photo Rescue Project." The objectives of the project were:
In order to further assist the photo cleaning operations throughout the region, we took on the role of supporting the various volunteer groups. We initially arranged for around 30 project members to visit the affected areas in order to assess the current situation and share information with local volunteers. At that stage it was still difficult to gather details.
We travelled to various areas to find the damaged photographs and albums, but often had to ask around to find where the temporary storage was located. The employees involved with the project were still working their day jobs, and so they took turns on weekends to visit the affected areas and continue the search. By the end of June, we had managed to visit 80 locations, from Kuji (Iwate Prefecture) in the north, to Hitachi (Ibaraki) in the south.