Japan marks fifth anniversary of devastating tsunami

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Tokyo, Mar.11 (ANI): Japan on Friday marked the fifth anniversary of the 2011 tsunami that killed more than 18,000 people and left a devastated coastline along the country’s northeast.

A minute’s silence will be held across Japan at 2:46 pm (5:46 GMT), the time the quake hit the country in 2011, reports CBS News.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Emperor Akihito will offer flowers at a memorial ceremony in Tokyo.

The magnitude-9.0 quake struck offshore, creating a vast water surge that devastated Japan’s northeast.

It also triggered the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986, after the tsunami knocked out power to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, taking cooling systems off-line, which set off a series of meltdowns.

The subsequent disaster spewed radiation over a wide area and forced the evacuation of more than 1, 60, 000 local people.

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Most of them have not been able to return to their homes, despite extensive decontamination work.

Tokyo is the host city for the 2020 Summer Olympics. The residents of the disaster-hit regions have criticized the government for rushing the reconstruction to showcase Fukushima’s safety for the Olympics rather than for the residents.

The government hopes to reopen all evacuation zones by next March, except for the dangerously contaminated surroundings of the plant. (ANI)

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