Japan on Sept. 1 marked the centenary of the Great Kanto Earthquake that devastated the capital and surrounding areas, killing an estimated 105,000 people.
Ceremonies were held across the country to honor those who lost their lives in the magnitude 7.9 temblor and ensuing conflagration, as well as separate events to commemorate the Koreans and others who were massacred in the chaos following the disaster.
The quake not only caused buildings to collapse but also triggered fires in which about 90% of the casualties died, along with tsunamis and mudslides.
The government designates Sept. 1 as Disaster Prevention Day, with drills held across the country every year to raise public awareness and disseminate disaster prevention knowledge.
A memorial service was held at a memorial hall in the capital’s Yokoamicho Park in Sumida Ward, where 38,000 people died due to a fire whirlwind. About 130 people attended, including the families of the victims, Crown Prince Fumihito and Crown Princess Kiko.
According to the Cabinet Office, the Great Kanto Earthquake caused around \5.5 billion in economic damage, or some 37% of Japan’s gross national product at the time. (Kyodo)