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Still recovering, Japan aponia celebrates the 10th anniversary of the disaster

TOKYO (AP) – Japan celebrated the 10th anniversary of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster that struck its northeastern region on Thursday, killing many survivors.

Wearing bou bouquets, many walked to the shore or visited graves to pray for relatives and friends who had been bathed in the tsunami. Emperor Naruhito և Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga was among those who heard a moment of silence at 2 p.m. At 46, just as the quake began, at the Tokyo Memorial.

A magnitude 9.0 earthquake on March 11, 2011 caused one of the largest tsunamis in the world, destroying cities and causing the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. More than 18,000 people died, mostly due to the tsunami, and nearly half a million were displaced.

In addition, the government identified about 3,700 other people, most of them from Fukushima, who died in the disaster.

Ten years later, more than 40,000 people are still unable to return home to and around Fukushima, where the area around the wrecked plant is still banned due to radioactive contamination.

“Reconstruction in the disaster-stricken areas has progressed considerably, but the recovery of survivors’ hearts has not progressed as much as we would like,” said Makoto Saito, a primary school teacher in the quake-hit town of Minamisoma. where he lost his 5-year-old son Shota in the tsunami.

Speaking at the ceremony, representing the survivors of Fukushima, Saito said he feared that memories outside the disaster zone would fade, and that he would continue to tell lessons from the disaster and his son’s stories.

Naruhito said that “my heart aches” when he thinks of those who have struggled with hardships, made drastic changes in their lives, lost loved ones, jobs and communities. He especially noted the plight of many Fukushima residents who could not return.

“I am working on the treatment of emotional scars, the maintenance of the mental and physical health of the victims, including the elderly, children,” he said. He stressed that it is possible for people to stand by their side and help rebuild their lives, “leaving even one person in this situation without difficulty.”

Reconstruction of roads, roads, trains, and other important infrastructure և housing has largely been completed by more than 30 trillion yen ($ 280 billion), but much of the vacant land remains in the coastal cities north of Miyagi և Iwate Prefecture. The losses of the existing population were accelerated by the disaster.

In the town of Otsuchi, Iwate Prefecture, where a tsunami devastated the city hall, killing about 40 workers, families in dark suits gathered on a vacant lot where the building once stood. Dozens of residents in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, prayed at a cenotaph named after more than 3,000 victims.

No direct deaths have been reported from Radiation No., but Fukushima has lagged behind in recovery efforts, with և 2.4% of land classified as restricted areas near the plant. Decommissioning of molten reactors is an unprecedented challenge. After 10 years of work, some question whether it can be done at all.

Thursday’s ceremony is the last national commemoration of the 2011 disaster organized by the government. It comes just two weeks before the postponed July Tokyo Summer Games and the start of the Olympic torch relay from Fukushima.

Suga said that the Olympic Games will show the recovery of Japan aponia from the catastrophe, will be a proof of human victory against the coronavirus epidemic. Some disaster survivors, however, say their work is still half done.

“We are now at a stage where we can complete the reconstruction of the disaster,” Suga said at the memorial service. He acknowledged that some people are still struggling with the epidemic, adding to their difficulties, and promised to help meet individual needs in rebuilding their environment, livelihoods and businesses.

In other countries, Disaster Prevention Awareness Day was celebrated. Authorities in Kyoto, west of Aponia, have held emergency military exercises.

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Follow Mari Yamaguchi at https://www.twitter.com/mariyamaguchi

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