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Japan remembers its day of sorrow

Updated: 2012-03-12 07:05
By Lee hannon ( China Daily)

Country mourns disaster victims on anniversary of quake and tsunami

Time may be the great healer but for the people of Japan a year is too short a span to ease the pain and suffering.

Japan on Sunday solemnly marked one year since the 9.0-magnitude earthquake rocked the country unleashing a tsunami that killed nearly 20,000 people and triggered an enduring nuclear crisis. The quake was the most powerful in Japan since records began.

Japan remembers its day of sorrow

A mother and daughter attend a vigil on Sunday in Fukushima, Japan, which was hit by the deadly tsunami last year. [Cui Meng / China Daily]
Slide: Japan marks one year since deadly quake

More than 3,000 people remain missing. The mass of black churning water washed away anything in its path, towns, schools and people. Parents still search every day for the bodies of their children.

An area equivalent to the size of Brussels is contaminated with radiation and a vast part of northern Japan has been reduced to ghost towns.

Many families still live in temporary accommodation, unable to return to wastelands they used to call home.

People across Japan paused for a minute's silence at the time the quake hit a year ago, 2:46 pm.

In the city of Yokohama, 27 kilometers from the capital Tokyo and home to one of Asia's largest Chinese communities, the day the buildings started to sway like giant metronomes has left an indelible imprint on people's minds.

Zheng Feng runs a tea shop at a busy junction in Yokohama that is home to about 10,000 Chinese people who live or work in this busy port city.

"My heart started beating so fast," said Zheng, 46, who is originally from Fuzhou, Fujian province. "At first I wasn't that scared, but when the second tremor hit I was frightened," she told China Daily.

"The buildings started swaying. The ground was shaking. I was scared for my son. It was a massive quake."

Xianglin Hua, 32, sells baozi across from the traditional Chinese gate that marks the entrance to Chinatown. Hua moved to Japan 10 years ago from Nanjing to start his business.

"The whole street started shaking. It was very intense. Many of the tourists were scared and didn't know what to do. People were looking around, confused. It lasted a long time."

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