TOKYO (AP) — Japan fell quiet at 2:46 p.m. to mark the minute that an earthquake began 10 years ago, before setting off a tsunami and nuclear crisis that devastated the country’s northeast coast.
The magnitude-9.0 quake that struck on March 11, 2011, triggered a tsunami, destroying towns and causing meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
One survivor said Thursday that he fears people are beginning to forget the triple disaster that together killed more than 18,000 people.
Carrying bouquets of flowers, many walked to the seaside or visited graves to pray for relatives and friends washed away by the water.
The 9.0 earthquake was one of the strongest on record and generated a towering tsunami wave that threatened nearby Asian countries and reached islands in the Pacific and the North American coast.
The waves triggered by the earthquake devastated a nuclear plant in Fukushima, forcing half a million people to flee radiation.
Japan's government has spent $295 billion to rebuild roads and seawalls along with other recovery efforts. But 2.4% of Fukushima land remains a no-go zone and the decommission of the destroyed plant will take decades more.