Japan on Friday mourned the thousands who lost their lives in a massive earthquake and tsunami five years ago that turned towns to matchwood and triggered the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.
The nine-magnitude quake hit overseas on a chilly Friday, killing nearly 20,000 individuals. and starting huge black waves along a vast swathe of shoreline
The tsunami crippled the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant, where meltdowns in three reactors spewed radiation over a wide region of the countryside, contaminating water, food and atmosphere.
Were evacuated from nearby towns and some 10 percent still live in temporary housing across Fukushima prefecture. Most have settled outside their hometowns and have started new lives.
Some areas remain no go zones due to the high radiation.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was criticized by others and called for abandoning nuclear power completely.
“Infrastructure is recovering, hearts are not. I thought time would take good care of things,” said Eiki Kumagai, a volunteer fireman who lost 51 coworkers, many killed as they directed others to security.
“I keep seeing the faces of people who perished… There’s so much regret, I can’t express it.”
Abe and Emperor Akihito will take part in a ceremony in Tokyo that will contain a moment of silence during the time of the quake, 2.46 p.m. (0546 GMT), when bells will ring in the city center and residents across the nation bow their heads.
Japan, one of the most seismically active areas in the world’s, marked with graveside visits and prayers. All the trains on the Tokyo underground system that is vast will stop to indicate the moment the quake hit.
Billions of dollars in government spending have helped hit communities grow from the ruins, including cleaning radiation and elevating the earth to protect them from future waves -contaminated land, but much remains to be done for thousands still languishing in barracks -like temporary housing.
“I get the feeling the number of individuals who do not know what to do, who are not even attempting, is increasing,” said Kazuo Sato, a former fisherman from Rikuzentakata. “Their hearts are in bits.”
Government spending on reconstruction is set to dip from the beginning of the newest fiscal year in April. But Abe pledged continued support.
“There are still lots of people living difficult lives in temporary housing and those who because of the atomic mishap cannot return to the areas they lived,” Abe told reporters on Thursday.
“We will speed up our efforts to construct housing and disaster-proof towns … so they are able to return as quickly as possible to permanent home and stable lives.