Yesterday, it marked the fourth anniversary of Japan’s devastating earthquake-tsunami that took thousands of lives and sparked a huge nuclear crisis, a tragedy that can still be seen today on the landscape and that many have not recovered from.
Ceremonies were held throughout the country, especially in the disaster zones and Tokyo. Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko led the tributes of those who died, in what is considered Japan’s worst peace time disaster.
Japanese television showed footage of volunteers and victims praying near a tsunami destroyed building in the port town of Minamisanriku, one of the many strong reminders of the devastation left by the earthquake and tsunami that day.
Japan had a national minute of silence after alarm sirens went off at the same time the 9.0 earthquake hit the country.
That catastrophic day, the quake created a huge wall of water that travelled at the speed of a fighter jet. Many people were caught off guard and within minutes, thousands of lives had been lost. Houses, boats, cars and everything on the path was swept away in the blink of an eye.
It didn’t end there, a nuclear reactor at the Fukushima plant that was heavily damaged by the disaster, released high amounts of radiation into the air and water of that city. This could have huge repercussions on the current and future generations of that area.
The National Police Agency said the death toll is 15,891 with 2,584 people still missing. Human remains of those who perished that day are still being found by cleanup crews and residents.
A lot of families have not given up on the search for their loved ones. The absence of a physical body has made the process of moving on way too difficult for some. Others still believe their loved ones are out there, still alive.
“Somebody needs to do this, walking along the shore,” said Takayuki Ueno, who at the weekend searched in an empty beach for the remains of his missing three year old son.
In Shichigahama, 28 police and coastguard officers offered a silent prayer for those who lost their lives that day. This was done before carrying on their search for the missing bodies of two residents from that town.
They don’t only find human remains; they also find bones on the beach but from animals. Hidenori Kasahara, is one of the many police officers in charge of searching for missing bodies. He sifts through the beach sand in hopes of finding one.
[quote_center]“We still hope to find the bodies for the sake of their families,” he said.[/quote_center]