Japan remembers quake and tsunami disaster

TOKYO —  People all over Japan bowed their heads in silence as they remembered thousands of victims killed in a devastating earthquake and tsunami exactly two years ago.
A little boy prays for his relatives killed in the 2011 disaster. Net photo.
A little boy prays for his relatives killed in the 2011 disaster. Net photo.

TOKYO —  People all over Japan bowed their heads in silence as they remembered thousands of victims killed in a devastating earthquake and tsunami exactly two years ago.

They marked the moment when the 9.0 magnitude quake struck off the northeastern coast, triggering waves as high as 30 metres (100ft) that swept away residents and their homes.

The country’s worst disaster since World War Two also wrecked the Fukushima nuclear power plant, sparking another emergency.

Three reactors suffered meltdowns and spewed radiation into the surrounding soil and water after the tsunami knocked out the plant’s vital cooling system.

A total of 15,881 people are confirmed to have died in the triple disaster and 2,668 others remain unaccounted for.

And more than 300,000 people remain displaced, including about half of them evacuees from areas near the plant.

Ceremonies were held in towns and cities throughout the disaster zone, as well as in Tokyo. In the city, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko led tributes to those who lost their lives, including over 2,300 whose deaths have been recorded as being caused by the stresses of life in evacuation centres or temporary housing.

“I am always deeply moved by seeing how so many people lead their daily lives without complaining ... and hope ... to be able to share their suffering, if only a little,” he said.

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