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