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Japan marks 2nd anniversary of 2011 quake, tsunami

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-03-11 12:46

Japan marks 2nd anniversary of 2011 quake, tsunami

Greenpeace activists light candles to mourn victims of the Fukushima earthquake and tsunami in downtown Bucharest March 10, 2013, a day before the second-year anniversary of the disaster that killed thousands and set off a nuclear crisis. [Photo/Agencies]

TOKYO - Japan on Monday marked the second anniversary of 2011 devastating earthquake and tsunami which destroyed the country's northeastern part and triggered the world's worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl crisis in 1986.

The Japanese government will hold a memorial ceremony afternoon in Central Tokyo, with attendance of Emperor Akihito, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and people who lost their families in the catastrophe.

Other memorial events will be also held outside the capital, especially in three prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima that were seriously damaged by the disastrous tsunami due to the offshore 9.0-magnitude earthquake.

In a video speech put early Monday on the website of the Prime Minister's Office, Abe vowed that the government will accelerate reconstruction in the northeast region and continue to listen to people who were affected by the disasters.

Abe called on all Japanese to support the disaster-affected areas by visiting the regions and purchasing products of the affected prefectures.

The prime minister also said that reconstruction programs will nourish new hopes for Japan and urged ministries to closely cooperate to speed up the programs.

The reconstruction works were criticized as slow during the rule of the previous government led by the Democratic Party of Japan, while Abe's cabinet has adopted new measures such as allocating more budget and using state subsidies to boost the programs in order to gain more public support in this summer's upper house election.

The temblor and tsunami have left more than 18,000 people dead and missing, according to Japanese authorities and about 315,000 people still live in temporary houses as of February.

About 57,000 residents evacuated from their homes in Fukushima where a nuclear power plant was crippled before leading to the worst nuclear disaster since 1986, have not returned to the prefecture due to high dose of radioactivity.

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