• The Associated Press

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Japanese and Americans observed the second anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks at memorials across the country Thursday, paying respects to the thousands, including 24 Japanese, who perished.

Yokosuka Naval Base in Kanagawa Prefecture observed a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m. and held a wreath-laying service and silent vigil afterward.

“All of us at the embassy in Tokyo were deeply moved by, and remain deeply grateful for, the outpouring of sympathy from the people of Japan following those terrible events,” Ambassador Howard Baker said in a statement. “Nancy and I will always remember the mountains of flowers, paper cranes and other mementos left by so many Japanese citizens at the embassy gates in subsequent days.”

The Embassy did not hold a ceremony.

Yasushi Miyama, a public relations officer at Mizuho Financial Group, said memorials at his company would be personal. “People will be observing the day on an individual level,” Miyama said. “For many, it is a day of remembrance.”

Half of the Japanese who were killed worked for Fuji Bank — renamed Mizuho after a merger — which had 700 employees in offices from the 79th to 82nd floors of the World Trade Center.

A 20-year-old Japanese university student was on the hijacked plane that crashed near Pittsburgh, while another Japanese man was on the first plane that crashed into the World Trade Center.

Bank observes deaths

FUKUOKA (Kyodo) Officials of Nishi-Nippon Bank on Thursday observed the death of two bank officials who were killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States.

Some 100 employees at the bank’s sections that deal with overseas operations offered a moment of silent prayer at 8:46 a.m.

Nishi-Nippon Bank, based in Fukuoka, had a branch office in the World Trade Center.