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March 2, 2021

Japan marks two years since deadly tsunami

Japan marked yesterday the second anniversary of the devastating tsunami and earthquake that claimed 19,000 lives and caused the worst nuclear accident in decades. A national ceremony organised by the government began in Tokyo on Monday to commemorate victims of the disaster. Mourners across the country observed a moment of silence at 2:46pm, the exact time the tsunami struck, for those killed. A 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck the country’s northeastern Pacific coast on March 11, 2011, triggering a tsunami that destroyed thousands of homes and hit the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, causing meltdowns and explosions in what has become the worst nuclear catastrophe since Chernobyl in 1986. The anniversary has highlighted the country’s continuing struggle to clean up the radition that was unleashed, rebuild communities, and determine new energy and economic strategies. More than 300,000 people remain displaced and virtually no rebuilding has begun along the battered northeastern coast. In the devastated fishing port of Kesennuma, a thin blanket of snow covered the ground where houses and fisheries once stood. Survivors live in temporary housing farther inland on higher ground, while others have decided to move away altogether.

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