Japan observes tsunami’s first year anniversary

One year ago, on the 11th of March 2011, Japan experienced a 8.9 magnitude earthquake. It was the sixth biggest earthquake since 1900, and it triggered a Tsunami with 10m-high waves that engulfed the northern port of Sendai and it’s islands. The aftermath of the disaster amounts to over 15 thousands killed, 5 thousand injured and the same number of disappeared, whereas the displaced sum up to 130 thousand people. Not to mention the economic losses estimated to 309 billions US$, the nuclear crisis and the huge leaks of radiations it set off.

On sunday the 11th of March, one year after this devastating experience, the Japanese survivors pay their tribute to the thousand of victims: they stood in silence, their head bowed, while sirens sounded in the centrals and trains came to a stand still.

and those few privileged attended a ceremony in the capital’s national theatre.

The main memorial ceremony took place at the National Theatre, in Tokyo, by Japan’s Emperor Akihito, Empress Michiko and Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, where they spoke in memory of the victims and the ones that gave their lives in the rescue missions.

“We shall not let our memory of the disasters fade”, states the Emperor, and then adds: “I hope all the people will keep the victims in their hearts.”

The big attention, though, shall go to the japanese citizens the are currently trying to rebuild their lives: “We want to make the city even more clean and attractive than it was before” said a retired woman resident of Ishinomaki. Even with the crises going on in the world, Japan has shown that everything is possible: in just a year it has achieved the impressive result of reconstructing 85% of the total affected zones.

One of the most prominent initiatives, “Ishinomaki 2.0”, brings young shopkeepers who lost their businesses together to ri-consider the future of the town: these entrepreneurs reunite resources, ideas and people from across Japan to invest in the regeneration of Ishinomaki’s district. Everything wouldn’t be possible just with the government’s work: citizens not just from japan, but from all over the world were an essential part to help rebuild the japanese life.

The prime minister Yoshihiko Noda of Japan has continuously given support to the japanese citizens to overcome the emotional impact the natural disaster caused. He has united the Japanese successfully with a spirit of “the rebirth of Japan through reconstruction”, especially now, after one year has passed.

Grief and regret of the lost lives is impossible to overcome, however it is important that they feel supported and have the will to improve and progress within the situation. Secondly, Yoshihiko Noda has make a pledge to “pass on the lessons and knowledge we have gained from this disaster to future generations” as the Japanese archipelago is bound to frequent natural disasters. Nevertheless, the most important aspect, as Yoshihiko Noda has pointed to his people, is to is to continue with a spirit of “mutual assistance” and “appreciation”.

As a house of cards, our world is interconnected. If one of those cards falls or is eliminated, the whole structure collapses. Japan’s catastrophe has shown the world that what affects a country or a region, concerns the whole world, a world that needs cooperative action and organization. These two remarkable characteristics were exemplary put into practice by the Japanese people whose unbreakable philosophy joined their forced together to repair the damages of the disaster in their lands. We can conclude saying that they are the example of how a nation can be raised upon the shoulders of unity and hard work.


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