Via The Japan Times Online: Survivors mark four years since 3/11 disasters. Excerpt and then a comment:
Japan on Wednesday commemorated the fourth anniversary of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami with prayers for the more than 18,000 people who died or who remain missing following the disaster, which devastated much of the Tohoku region.
The anniversary comes at a time when post-quake reconstruction in hard-hit Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures remains incomplete, with many evacuees still forced to live away from their hometowns amid decommissioning work at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant and decontamination work across Fukushima Prefecture.
A government-sponsored memorial service held in Tokyo was attended by Emperor Akihito and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, as well as representatives of people who lost family members. A moment of silence was observed at 2:46 p.m., the moment that the magnitude-9 quake struck four years ago.
“To make the most of the precious lessons learned from the earthquake and tsunami, I will push forward the effort to build an enduring nation that can stand firmly against disasters,” Abe said at the memorial service.
The Emperor also expressed compassion for those affected by the disaster, noting that “the situation surrounding affected people still remains difficult, and I think citizens’ continuous efforts to help each other and unite as one is important.”
A total of 30 relatives of the deceased from Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures participated in the memorial, with representatives from each prefecture taking turns to speak about the four years since the disaster.
Michio Uchidate, a 38-year-old man from Iwate who lost his father in the massive quake, said he sometimes has difficulty moving forward and feels as if he is fighting a battle against time and fading memories of the disaster. Still, he said, he was determined not to let them be forgotten.
“In my daily life, warm memories of my father unexpectedly surround me. But soon after that, the grief fills my mind as I remember encountering his dead body and recall scenes of gigantic tsunami waves, cold mud and uncountable debris left behind,” he said.
“Along with reconstruction of tangible objects, we turned grief into grace, remorse into tolerance, and regret . . . into the spirit of mutual cooperation among the survivors,” he added.
My first post (of many that day and thereafter) about Fukushima is here. I'd forgotten what a frantic morning that was.