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NIIGATA (Kyodo) A memorial service was held Friday in Kashiwazaki, Niigata Prefecture, to mark the third anniversary of a deadly earthquake that killed 15 people and injured more than 2,300 others in and around the prefecture.

At the ceremony jointly hosted by the prefecture, the city of Niigata and the village of Kariwa, local residents and relatives of the dead observed a moment of silence at 10:13 a.m., the time when the earthquake struck.

In the magnitude 6.8 temblor that originated off the coast, a total of 2,346 people in Niigata, Nagano and Toyama prefectures were injured, some seriously. The quake damaged about 44,000 houses, including 1,331 that were completely destroyed.

A total of 3,044 people were forced to live in temporary housing, but all had returned home by last September.

The quake caused the emergency shutdown of four active nuclear reactors at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power station. The remaining three of its seven reactors were not operating at the time.

A fire occurred inside the station’s perimeter, while cracks were later found in its buildings.

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