The Asian reporter. (Portland, Or.) 1991-current, March 17, 2014, Page Page 16, Image 16

Below is the OCR text representation for this newspapers page. It is also available as plain text as well as XML.

    Page 16 n THE ASIAN REPORTER
ASIA / PACIFIC
March 17, 2014
Japan marks third anniversary of tsunami disaster
REMEMBRANCE EVENTS. A woman prays for
the victims of the March 11, 2011 earthquake and
tsunami in Minamisoma, Fukushima prefecture, north-
eastern Japan, on March 11, 2014. Japan marked the
third anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that
killed 15,884 people and left more than 2,600 unac-
counted for in vast areas of its northern coast. (AP
Photo/Koji Sasahara)
briefly mentioned the Fukushima disaster
in his speech. In a sign of growing caution
against
reactor
startups,
veteran
lawmaker Bunmei Ibuki, also speaker of
the powerful Lower House of Japan’s
parliament, said the Japanese should
remember they enjoyed the benefits of
electricity at the cost of Fukushima.
“Each of us must reflect upon our
wasteful lifestyle and shift to that of
energy conservation,” Ibuki told those
attending the ceremony, calling for an
energy policy “toward a nuclear phase-out
in the future.”
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry
issued a statement offering prayers to
Japan’s people and support for rebuilding
efforts.
In northern Japan, some tsunami
survivors held their own memorial events
for their loved ones.
In the once-bustling fishing town of
Minamisanriku, local residents gathered
in front of the frame of what used to be the
town’s disaster prevention center, where
dozens of town employees died in the
tsunami. The residents prayed in front of a
small table filled with flowers, a Buddha
statue, and incense.
Much of the town’s coastal area remains
deserted, except for a few structures that
survived.
Katsuo Izumi, who lost his wife in the
tsunami, said his disaster-hit town of
Continued on page 11
By Mari Yamaguchi
The Associated Press
OKYO — Prime Minister Shinzo
Abe pledged to boost rebuilding
efforts as Japan marked the third
anniversary of a devastating earthquake
and tsunami that left nearly 19,000 people
dead, destroyed coastal communities, and
triggered a nuclear crisis.
Japan has struggled to rebuild towns
and villages and to clean up radiation from
the meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-ichi
nuclear power plant. Reconstruction plans
are finally taking shape, but shortages of
skilled workers and materials are delaying
the work.
The triple disasters known in Japan as
3/11 killed 15,884 people and left 2,636
unaccounted for on its northeastern coast.
The country has earmarked 25 trillion yen
($250 billion) for reconstruction through
March 2016.
Three years later, nearly 270,000 people
remain displaced from their homes, in-
cluding many from Fukushima prefecture
who may never be able to return home due
to radioactive contamination.
During a ceremony in Tokyo, officials
and representatives of the survivors
offered a minute of silence to mark the
moment, at 2:46pm, when the magnitude
9.0 earthquake struck off the Tohoku
coast. It was the strongest quake recorded
in Japan’s history.
Abe has visited disaster-hit areas regu-
larly since taking office in late 2012, and
said he has seen signs of progress. Farm-
ing and fishing resumed in some areas,
and some people have moved to public
housing from shelters, he said, promising
to do more.
“We must further speed up the recon-
T
struction so that everyone affected by the
disasters can return to ordinary life as
soon as possible,” Abe, wearing a dark
formal suit, said during the solemn
ceremony.
Abe has promised to move hundreds of
communities along the ravaged coast to
higher ground to avoid future tsunamis,
and build thousands more public housing
units within a year in Iwate and Miyagi
prefectures.
In Fukushima, reconstruction has
lagged further behind in some areas
because of the nuclear disaster.
Several towns are still off limits due to
high radiation, and disaster-hit houses
remain untouched.
The plant has stabilized substantially,
but is still plagued by frequent leaks of
radioactive water and other mishaps,
triggering concern about whether it’s
really under control. The leaks are
hampering the plant’s decommissioning,
which is expected to take about 40 years.
Yukari Tanaka, a resident of Futaba
town, where the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant
is located, told people at the ceremony she
couldn’t look for her father after the
tsunami because they were ordered to
evacuate. Weeks later, her father was
found dead under the roof of their
tsunami-toppled house, she said.
“I never forget how I regretted that I had
to evacuate, leaving my father behind,”
Tanaka said.
Emperor Akihito, who also attended the
ceremony, said that his heart breaks when
he thinks of the Fukushima residents who
have no idea if they can ever return home.
“Many disaster survivors are still
experiencing difficulties. It is important
that all people of Japan unite their hearts
and stand by each other for a long period so
that they can live without losing their
hopes and in good health,” Akihito said.
Abe, who still supports nuclear as a key
power source and is pushing to export
nuclear technology despite the crisis, only
Get Health Insurance.
At Cover Oregon ™ [oW CnF [oWr HCOKN[ ECn ƂnF JeCNtJ KnUWrCnEe CnF get UCvKngU to
OCMe [oWr EoverCge NoYEoUt 5oOe ReoRNe YKNN CNUo De CDNe to get RNCnU Ct no EoUt
;oW ECn get KnUWrCnEe even KH [oW JCve C JeCNtJ EonFKtKon NKMe FKCDeteU or JKgJ
DNooF RreUUWre An[one NKvKng Kn Oregon ECn CRRN[
Cover Oregon.com
3430 SE Powe ll Blvd
Portland , O R 97202
503.872.8822
8040 NE Sand y Blvd
Portland , O R 97213
503.235.9396
1-855-CoverOR
(1-855-268-3767)