Japan marks 7th anniversary of tsunami that killed 18,000

TOKYO — They bowed their heads, hands clasped or palms firmly pressed together. They stood in grassy areas or roadsides overlooking the choppy sea. In Japan’s capital, they lit candles and offered flowers. Some dabbed at tears.

Japanese marked the seventh anniversary Sunday of a tsunami that took more than 18,000 lives on the northeast coast and triggered a nuclear disaster that turned nearby communities into ghost towns.

Residents along the coast gathered outdoors to remember the tragedy as sirens wailed at 2:46 p.m., the moment the magnitude 9.0 offshore earthquake struck on March 11, 2011, setting off a massive tsunami.

The tsunami overwhelmed sea walls and washed away buildings, cars and entire neighbourhoods as it swept inland. It knocked out power at the seaside Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, causing partial meltdowns in three reactors.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Sunday at an official ceremony in Tokyo that reconstruction is making steady progress, but more than 70,000 people are still displaced and many have no prospect of returning to their homes.

Prince Akishino, the second son of Japanese Emperor Akihito, expressed hope that the tsunami would raise awareness and help prevent or mitigate damage from future natural disasters.

“It is my earnest hope … that we hand down the knowledge to future generations in order to protect many people from the dangers of disasters,” he said.

Separately, several hundred people observed a moment of silence and made offerings at an altar set up in Hibiya Park in central Tokyo.

Cleaning up the still-radioactive Fukushima nuclear plant site remains a daunting challenge that is expected to take 30 to 40 years.

Just Posted

Red Deer church donates to Safe Harbour

It was all about helping those in need at Safe Harbour in… Continue reading

Former firefighter with PTSD sues Syncrude over suspended benefits, dismissal

CALGARY — A lawsuit filed by a former firefighter and paramedic against… Continue reading

Call for tighter bail rules after Saudi sex-crime suspect vanishes

HALIFAX — Mohammed Zuraibi Alzoabi may have hoped to quietly disappear from… Continue reading

Democrats aren’t buying Trump’s shutdown-ending ‘compromise’

WASHINGTON — In a bid to break the shutdown stalemate, President Donald… Continue reading

Updated: Red Deer welcomes 2019 Canada Winter Games Team Alberta

About 250 Alberta athletes are participating in the Games

Students seen mocking Native Americans could face expulsion

One 11-minute video of the confrontation shows the Haka dance and students loudly chanting

Curtain rising Sunday night on total lunar eclipse

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The celestial curtain will be rising soon on… Continue reading

At 30-day mark, shutdown logjam remains over border funding

WASHINGTON — Thirty days into the partial government shutdown, Democrats and Republicans… Continue reading

Holocaust victims buried after remains found in UK museum

LONDON — The remains of six unidentified Holocaust victims were buried in… Continue reading

Giuliani: ‘So what’ if Trump and Cohen discussed testimony

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani left open Sunday the… Continue reading

Photos: Rocks fly at 37th Annual Oilmen’s Bonspiel

Twenty-nine teams gathered at the Pidherney Curling Centre in Red Deer for… Continue reading

Death toll reaches 79 in Mexico fuel pipeline fire horror

TLAHUELILPAN, Mexico — People in the town where a gasoline explosion killed… Continue reading

With Trump out, Davos chief eyes fixing world architecture

DAVOS, Switzerland — The founder of the World Economic Forum says U.S.… Continue reading

Mexican pipeline explosion kills 71, leaves nightmare of ash

TLAHUELILPAN, Mexico — Gerardo Perez returned Saturday to the scorched field in… Continue reading

Most Read