Japan's 'Wind Phone' offers solace to those grieving

A white telephone box in a remote village of Japan has become an unlikely source of comfort for those grieving loved ones.

Survivors of the 2011 Fukushima disaster say the unconnected phone line helps them keep in touch with those they have lost.

Kazuyoshi Sasaki visits the booth in the town of Otsuchi to speak to his late wife.

She was one of nearly 20,000 people in northeastern Japan who were killed by the earthquake and tsunami that struck on March 11, 2011.

Dialling her now defunct cell, he breaks down in tears as he explains to her how he searched for her for days after the disaster.

He goes onto update her on things that have happened in his life - he's moved out of temporary housing, their son is building him a house, and he's lost a bit of weight.

For Sasaki, the phone booth is a source of solace:

"This phone booth embraces all of me. It embraces various people like the people affected (from the earthquake and tsunami). It's a place that embraces not only the people who are alive but also those who had passed away. That's how I feel."

Sachiko Okawa uses the phone to call her late husband, who she was married to for 44 years.

She asks him what he's been doing since he was swept away all those years ago in the Tsunami.

She often brings along her two grandsons so they can also talk to their grandfather.

The phone now attracts thousands of visitors from all over Japan.

It is not only used by tsunami survivors, but also by people who have lost relatives to sickness and suicide.

Known as the wind phone, it was built by Itaru Sasaki, who created it after he lost his own cousin to cancer a year before the Fukushima disaster.

Video Transcript

- A white telephone box in a remote village of Japan has become an unlikely source of comfort for those grieving loved ones.

Survivors of the 2011 Fukushima disaster said the unconnected phone line helps them keep in touch with those they have lost.

Kazuyoshi Sasaki visits the booth in the town of Otsuchi to speak to his late wife. She was one of nearly 20,000 people in northeastern Japan who were killed by the earthquake and tsunami that struck on March 11, 2011.

Dialing her now defunct cell, he breaks down in tears as he explains how he searched for her four days after the disaster. He goes on to update her on things that have happened in his life.

- [CRIES]

- He's moved out to temporary housing, their son is building him a house, and he's lost a bit of weight.

For Sasaki, the phone booth is a source of solace.

KAZUYOSHI SASAKI: [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]

INTERPRETER: This phone booth embraces all of me. It embraces various people, like those affected by the disaster. It's a place that embraces not only the people who are alive, but also those who've passed away. That's how I feel.

SACHIKO OKAWA: [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]

- Sachiko Okawa uses the phone to call her late husband, who she was married to for 44 years. She asks him what he's been doing since he was swept away all those years ago in the tsunami. She often brings along her two grandsons so they can also talk to their grandfather.

- [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]

- The phone now attracts thousands of visitors from all over Japan. It is not only used by tsunami survivors, but also by people who have lost relatives to sickness and suicide. Known as the wind phone, it was built by Itaru Sasaki, who created it after he lost his own cousin to cancer a year before the Fukushima disaster.