Japan mourns 2011 disaster victims

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Japan mourns 2011 disaster victims

Japan mourns 2011 disaster victims
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Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko at a special memorial service at the National Theatre in Tokyo, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, once more, extended condolences.

Prayers and protests around Japan today are marking two years since the triple disasters of earthquake, tsunami and nuclear failures in which almost 19,000 people were killed and 315,000 evacuated.

The magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck on March 11,2011 at 2:46 p.m. in the northeast of the country.

The accompanying tsunami waves surged up the seabed, towering as high as 30 metres in some places where they made landfall and laid waste.

Two years later, almost 300,000 people are still living in temporary housing.

The bodies of more than 2,600 people have never been recovered.

Thousands gathered in Tokyo on Sunday to protest against the continuation of nuclear power.

In the disaster, three reactors of the Fukushima nuclear plant north of Tokyo melted down, in the world’s worst atomic accident since Chernobyl in 1986.

Mother Kazuko Nihei, who was forced to leave Fukushima city seven days after the earthquake and tsunami, said: “Nuclear energy accidents are dangerous, with proven effects on the bodies of our children, but they tell us you can go home. I want the rest of the world to recognize the dangers of Fukushima.”

The reconstruction budget has been boosted to some 260 billion euros. Memorial speeches by politicians evoked pledges of a better future.