Evacuees from quake-hit areas living in Hiroshima offer prayers from riverbank opposite A-bomb Dome

by Minako Okuda, Staff Writer

On March 11, the ninth anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake and the tsunami that hit northeastern Japan, people who had evacuated from the disaster zone to Hiroshima prefecture gathered with citizens of Hiroshima to offer silent prayers in remembrance of the victims. The memorial service was held at the Motoyasu River Shinsui Terrace, across the river from the A-bomb Dome, located in the city’s Naka Ward. Amid the spread of the novel coronavirus, this year’s annual memorial ceremony was canceled, but members of the ceremony’s executive committee gathered informally at the terrace.

At 2:46 p.m., the time of the earthquake, members of the committee and people who happened to be in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park offered a prayer facing in the direction of the Tohoku area, the site of the earthquake.

During past ceremonies, held at night, candles were placed in the shape of the numerals 3.11, the date of the disaster, and participants pledged their support for reconstruction of the disaster-stricken areas. “It is regrettable that this year’s ceremony has been canceled, but we will continue to maintain awareness of the disaster areas from Hiroshima and help each other,” said Tomoko Watanabe, 66, who heads the executive committee, expressing her renewed determination. Ms. Watanabe is the executive director of ANT-Hiroshima, an NPO based in Naka Ward, Hiroshima.

(Originally published on March 12, 2020)