Dead honored by ceremonies before fifth anniversary of 3/11 calamity

Kyodo

Those killed by the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster in Tohoku were remembered by residents and families Sunday in ceremonies held ahead of the fifth anniversary of the calamity.

In Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture, about 100 people mourned the dead and missing.

“The calamity brought us sadness and regret. We can never forget these feelings,” said Kenichi Kumagai, 64, who heads an organizing committee.

On a beach in Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture, about 50 residents offered flowers and silent prayers in a ceremony to commemorate 40 people who died and 18 who went missing in the area.

Yumi Suzuki, 49, a member of a local surfing club and organizer of the event, said she thought of those who perished when she entered the water for the first time after the disastrous events.

“Five years later, residents who had avoided coming to the beach have now returned,” she said. “I want to make this place an area where everyone can have fun again.”