People remember the victims of a massive earthquake and tsunami that devastated northeastern Japan. It’s been 11 years, but families affected by the disaster – and the nuclear accident it sparked – are still grieving.
People in Japan observed a minute of silence at 2:46 p.m., the exact time the magnitude 9 earthquake struck.
About 15,900 people were killed. More than 2,500 people are still missing. And, over the years, officials have attributed an additional 3,786 deaths to illnesses linked to the disaster.
The city of Okuma is home to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, which was crippled by a triple meltdown.
Many of those who were forced to flee are still not allowed to return home. But people made a trip here to remember the tragedy.
Miyagi was the prefecture hardest hit by the tsunami.
In Natori town alone, almost 1,000 people died or were not found.
Their loved ones released balloons in the shape of doves, carrying messages to those who were lost.
Prime Minister Kishida Fumio spoke at a memorial ceremony in Fukushima Prefecture about the need to look to the future.
He said: “It is our duty to remember the valuable lesson we learned from the earthquake and the great losses it suffered. We must use this lesson to prevent and reduce disasters.
Kishida said his government would continue to work to rebuild and help evacuees return home.