Japan on March 11 marked the eighth anniversary of the devastating earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan that left more than 15,000 people dead and triggered the world’s worst nuclear disaster since the 1986 Chernobyl crisis.
As rain and strong winds hit coastal areas in the region, people attended memorials and offered prayers for the victims of the magnitude 9.0 quake and ensuing tsunami that struck on March 11, 2011.
“I can still vividly recall the harrowing scene after all these years,” said 63-year-old Seiichi Watanabe at a park on the hill to which he fled from the tsunami that washed away his home in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture.
At a government-sponsored memorial ceremony held in the National Theatre in Tokyo, a moment of silence was observed at 2:46 p.m., the time of day when the quake occurred.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged continued support for the afflicted, saying the government “will continue to undertake reconstruction work with a commitment to providing seamless support through the various stages of livelihood rehabilitation and further accelerate the reconstruction work.”
While the number of displaced has dropped from its peak of 470,000, about 52,000 people have yet to return to their hometowns since the disaster. (Kyodo)