It’s been three years since the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami devastated the Tohoku region in Japan, and today the fight to recover from the disasters continue. The whole country and the world remembers the more than 18,000 who perished as they commemorate the anniversary through ceremonies and memorials all over the country.
Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko will lead a remembrance ceremony in Tokyo and other towns and cities will hold their own tributes as well. A tsunami alarm siren will ring at 2:46 PM in most local governments to mark the exact time that the 9.0-magnitude earthquake hit the region and sparked the tsunami that would later on destroy coastal towns and surrounding areas. The tsunami also crashed into the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, leading to the meltdown of three of its reactors and becoming one of the worst nuclear disasters of recent times. 15,884 people died from the disasters, with another 2,636 still missing and 1,650 more have died from complications, stress and other problems after the Fukushima accident.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday vowed to “accelerate the recovery” process, as criticism is mounting over the extremely slow reconstruction of the region. Abe himself admits that the efforts in Tokyo are only halfway done and that the country cannot fully begin its economic revival unless the “devastated areas” are restored. In Iwate and Miyagi Prefectures, only 3.5% of the houses that were pledged to be built for refugees have been completed. Around 270,000 Fukushima evacuees have still not been able to return to their homes, with 100,000 still living in temporary housing while the rest have chosen to move to other places. A poll conducted by a leading news agency in March showed that 77% of respondents believe that the reconstruction has fallen short of expectations.
[ via Rappler ]