3/11 memorial to be held in Tokyo

Kyodo

The government will hold a memorial ceremony on March 11 in Tokyo to mark the first anniversary of the quake and tsunami that devastated parts of the Tohoku region and triggered the world’s worst nuclear crisis since 1986, Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said Friday.

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, as well as Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and people representing various fields, are slated to attend the event, which will be held at the National Theater in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward, Fujimura said at a press conference.

It will be the first time the central government has staged a memorial ceremony to mourn victims of a natural disaster, according to government officials. At the hour-long secular service scheduled from 2:30 p.m., representatives of the victims’ families will make speeches after a moment of silent prayer, Fujimura said.

The government plans to broadcast the event live to the three prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima that were hardest hit by the disaster, plus Aomori, Chiba and Ibaraki, which were also badly affected, according to the officials. Tokyo is also considering inviting foreign dignitaries, including ambassadors, to the ceremony, they added.