Japan to mark 1st anniversary of quake, tsunami
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Last Updated: Saturday, March 10, 2012, 15:19
Tokyo: Japan on Sunday will mark the first anniversary of the deadly earthquake and tsunami that left about 19,000 people dead or missing, and triggered the world's worst nuclear accident since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

Many memorial services would be held in the northeastern prefectures hit hard by the tsunami as well as in Tokyo and elsewhere tomorrow, with a moment of silence planned across the country at 2:46 PM local time, the time the magnitude-9.0 quake jolted the country exactly a year earlier and led to the Fukushima tragedy, reported Kyodo news agency.

Emperor Akihito, who is recuperating from heart bypass surgery, will attend a government-sponsored memorial ceremony at the National Theater in central Tokyo along with Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and representatives of those who lost their family members in the natural disasters, it reported. Evacuation drills will also be held across the country to prepare for future quakes and tsunami, with some planned under the scenario in which a nuclear power plant suffers a loss of power just as Fukushima Daiichi did after tsunami waves flooded the plant a year ago.

At the plant, a moment of silence will be observed and an apology issued to the public once again for causing the country's worst nuclear accident.

Ahead of the anniversary, some events were also held in Japan today, including a Buddhist memorial service at a temple in Osaka featuring about 16,000 candles with names of disaster victims etched on them. The quake and tsunami besides leaving more than 15,800 people dead, had also damaged about 330,000 homes and other buildings, mostly in the hard-hit Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures in the Tohoku region.

The reconstruction in these areas has been slow and an year after, approximately 160,000 evacuees from around the damaged Fukushima plant see no prospect of returning home anytime soon due to radioactive contamination in the areas, Kyodo reported.


First Published: Saturday, March 10, 2012, 15:15

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