Japan Marks 10th Anniversary of Triple Disaster

More than 18K died in earthquake, tsunami
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 11, 2021 4:54 AM CST
Japan Marks 10th Anniversary of Triple Disaster
A woman who lost her husband and grandchild in the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, prays in front of the grave in Miyako, Iwate prefecture, Japan on Thursday, March 11, 2021.   (Muneyuki Tomari/Kyodo News via AP)

Japan on Thursday marked the 10th anniversary of the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster that hit its northeastern region, where many survivors' lives are still on hold. Carrying bouquets, many walked to the coast or visited graves to pray for relatives and friends washed away by the tsunami, the AP reports. Emperor Naruhito and Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga were among those observing a moment of silence at 2:46pm—the minute the shaking started—at a memorial in Tokyo. The magnitude 9.0 quake that struck on March 11, 2011, was one of the biggest on record and set off a massive tsunami that swept far inland, destroying towns and causing meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

More than 18,000 people died, mostly in the tsunami, and nearly half a million people were displaced. Additionally, the government recognized about 3,700 others—the majority of them from Fukushima—who died of causes linked to the disaster. Ten years later, more than 40,000 people are still unable to return home in and around Fukushima, where areas near the wrecked plant are still off-limits due to radioactive contamination. Makoto Saito, a teacher who lost his 5-year-old son Shota in the tsunami, spoke at the Tokyo ceremony. "Reconstruction in disaster-hit areas has moved forward significantly, but recovery of the survivors' hearts is not making as much progress as we wish," he said.

(More Japan stories.)

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