A man who lost his grandmother in the 2011 tsunami prays with his wife in front of a memorial in Sendai on March 11th. (Ryo Kato)
Seiichi Koshita kneels in prayer and offers flowers at the foot of his younger brother’s grave in Otsuchi, Iwate Prefecture. He remembers how he died 10 years ago trying to save others.
Fujio was among the nearly 20,000 people who died in the catastrophic earthquake in eastern Japan and the subsequent tsunami in the Tohoku region died on March 11, 2011.
Fujio, 57, was a volunteer firefighter. He stayed behind, rang the fire bell repeatedly, and asked residents to evacuate.
When some of his roommates told Koshita, 69, that Fujio had saved their lives, he replied, « I’m proud of him . «
But his heart sank and he confessed, » Once I got mad at him and called out to his remains, « Why didn’t you run away? «
» Honestly, I wanted him to evacuate, « he said. » We should never have victims like my brother. «
Japan celebrated the 10th anniversary of the devastating earthquake and tsunami, which caused a triple meltdown at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
The massive natural disaster resulted in a total of 22,192 deaths – a number that includes the confirmed deaths, deaths related to the disaster, and people missing and not found.
According to the National Police Department, 15,899 people died as a result of the disaster, while 3,767 deaths have been confirmed in the last 10 years. 2,526 people are still missing today.
On March 11th at 11am the Prefectural Police on the coast of Namie, Fukushima Prefecture, are searching for missing people.
According to official sources, 151 city residents have been confirmed to have died during the disaster, while 31 are still today missed.
“I experienced the earthquake and the tsunami and gave birth too. I’ve thought a lot about life over the past 10 years, ”she said. « Every time one of my four babies was born, my grandma and uncle appeared in my dreams and protected me. »
The 29-year-old resident of Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, brought her eldest son, who was only four months was born after the disaster, on March 11 at a local memorial service to mark the grim anniversary.
During the ceremony at Ishinomaki Minamihama Tsunami Memorial Park, which is due to officially open at the end of the month, officials unveiled a large memorial.
The names of 3,695 victims were engraved on the memorial, which is made of black granite and is approximately 34 meters long and 1 meter high.
« The sadness that our families suffer is not cured, » Kurosawa said . “But the surviving family members will support one another.” Meanwhile, many of those who managed to evacuate from disaster areas remain displaced a decade later and are still living under evacuation orders. In Fukushima Prefecture, it’s still hard to tell when orders will be canceled for most of the hard-to-return zones.
The number of evacuees has fallen significantly from its peak of around 470,000, but is still at 41,241 high.
After the triple collapse, up to 160,000 people – including those who were voluntarily evacuated – were evacuated from their homes in Fukushima Prefecture.
Although evacuation orders for 11 communities have been gradually lifted, there are still no clear indication of when contracts will be canceled for the hard-to-return zones that remain in seven parishes, with the exception of a few areas.
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