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Minute’s silence held in Japan in memory of 2011 natural disaster’s victims

March 11, 2014, 11:40 UTC+3
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
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© AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko
© AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko
© EPA/KIMIMASA MAYAMA
© EPA/KIMIMASA MAYAMA
© AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi
© AP Photo/Koji Sasahara

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.

In addition, local mourning ceremonies are held on Tuesday on the northeast of Honshu Island that was hit by the natural disaster. People come to places where once used to stand their homes destroyed by the tsunami. In the city of Miyako on the coast of the stricken area, earthquake emergency exercise was timed to the third anniversary of the disaster. The police and coast guard have also organized the symbolic search of those whose bodies were not found after the tsunami.

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.

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