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TOKYO, March 11. /ITAR-TASS/. A nationwide minute of silence has been held in Japan on Tuesday to pay tribute to victims of the most powerful in the country’s history earthquake and following tsunami that hit the north-east March 11, 2011. Millions of people bowed their heads in commemorative prayer.
The main mourning event is held in the national theatre’s building in Tokyo, with Emperor Akihito, Empress Michiko and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe taking part.
March 11, 2011, a catastrophic earthquake of magnitude 9 took place at the coast of Miyagi Prefecture. The earthquake triggered a series of tsunami with waves 20 meters in height. At some sites the waves exceeded 30 meters destroying entire coastal towns and blocks. Almost 15,900 people are in the victims’ list, and more than 2,600 people are reported missing.
The tsunami led to switching off the cooling system and meltdown of nuclear fuel at three reactors of the Fukushima-1 NPP. This was accompanied by explosions and releases of radiation contaminating a wide area.
After the natural disasters of 2011, 267 thousand Japanese still live in temporary dwellings, since the reconstruction of stricken neighborhoods is slow. Almost 48,000 residents of Fukushima Prefecture cannot return to their homes that are located in the contaminated area. The situation at the Fukushima-1 NPP is generally under control, however, incidents including radioactive water leackage continue there.