Japanese hold moment of silence on disaster anniversary
Monday, March 11, 2013 - 01:37
Mar 11 - Japanese in Tokyo and the northeast mark the two-year anniversary of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster that devastated the nation. Jessica Gray reports.
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Thousands gather in Tokyo's Hibiya Park for a moment of silence to commemorate victims of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster two years ago.
Nearly 19,000 people were killed in what was the worst disaster since World War Two that struck Japan's northeast.
Several thousand people are still unaccounted. More than 300,000 were stranded immediately after the disaster.
(SOUNDBITE)(Japanese) 31-YEAR-OLD MAKI NAKAMURA, SAYING:
"Of course, it can never be the same as experiencing the disaster for yourself, but I came because I wanted to share in the grief of the victims of the disaster as a fellow Japanese."
The nuclear meltdown at the Tokyo Electric Power Company Fukushima Daiichi plant forced a further 315,000 people from their homes.
In the north local communities held vigils to mark the day a series of waves, up to 30 metres in height, swept over the coast line following the massive quake.
The destruction and loss of life has left residents struggling to cope.
(SOUNDBITE)(Japanese) UNIDENTIFIED MAN FROM NAMIE TOWN SAYING:
"It's still painful to talk about. Even just going down to the beach and looking at the waves, I get overcome with a sense of helplessness. I lose all confidence just seeing waves."
Although the power plant is now stable, it will take decades and billions of dollars to fully decommission the damaged reactors.
Many of those who fled will never be able to return home.
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