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Fukushima victims remembered

14 March 2014

by a staff reporter

japan out/reuters

Wiped out: a woman prays in the snow for the deceased of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, at a site of a photographic studio where she had been employed at the time

Wiped out: a woman prays in the snow for the deceased of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, at a site of a photographic studio where she had been ...

SERVICES have been held across areas of Japan affected three years ago by the triple disaster of earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear fallout.

During a ceremony in Tokyo, officials and representatives of the survivors observed a minute's silence to mark the moment, at 2.46 p.m. on 11 March, when the magnitude-9.0 earthquake struck off the Tohoku coast. It was the strongest quake recorded in Japan's history. It killed nearly 19,000 people and triggered a tsunami and a meltdown of a nuclear-power plant, which led to radioactive contamination ( News, 25 March 2011).

Japan has struggled to cope with the clean-up and rebuilding, and 280,000 survivors of the tsunami are still living in temporary housing. The Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, promised this week to improve rebuilding efforts.

This weekend, Southwark Cathedral will host a memorial service attended by the Bishop of Tohoku, the Rt Revd John Kato. He will also preach at the Japanese Anglican church in West Acton.

The Anglican Communion in Japan (Nippon Sei Ko Kai) has been working to support those still left homeless through local projects in temporary housed communities.

A statement from Tohoku diocese said: "As a national Church, the Anglican Church is also focusing on the impact of the crisis at the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

"Families in the area are living in fear of radiation poisoning. Workers inside the power plant face difficult conditions. And, along the coast, all God's creatures have been affected.

"In May 2012, the Church resolved to work 'for a world without nuclear power plants', stating that 'the Anglican/Episcopal Church in Japan is opposed to a nuclear power generation'. We recognise this is a long road to travel, but we walk in faith with Jesus Christ. Please pray, remembering all those in the area of devastation."

The diocese of Tohoku's new cathedral was consecrated on 1 March. "It's been three years since the Tohoku disaster, and the new church has been completed," Bishop Kato said.

"It was made possible not only by the donations and huge efforts of the laity of the church, but also the prayers and support of the whole of the Anglican Church in Japan."

"The church is located right in the middle of the Tohoku disaster area, and it serves as a Cathedral Church and a parish church, as well as a place of healing, encouragement and hope and prayers for the many, many people who still are living with huge difficulties today."

Yuki Johnson, commissioned lay minister of the Japanese Anglican Church at St Martin's, West Acton, has visited the affected region. She went to a temporary community run by the Anglican diocese at Shinchi. She said: "I visited the former kindergarten which was located 1.5km from coast and eight infants died and also one teacher died after she rescued children.

"There was the visitor book and I found some words written by a small child, saying 'Sorry, I couldn't come here earlier. But from tomorrow, I will come every day. I miss you very much'.

"Recently Shinchi base organised a special day trip for people evacuated to visit their own village, where is still contaminated. They can't go out but they can look at their own village through the window."


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