NAGANO – Victims’ relatives and local officials gathered Tuesday to mark the second anniversary of the eruption of Mount Ontake, which claimed 58 lives and left five people unaccounted in the nation’s deadliest postwar volcanic disaster.
A moment of silence was observed during a ceremony in the town of Kiso, Nagano Prefecture, at 11:52 a.m., the time the 3,067-meter volcano erupted on Sept. 27, 2014. Some climbers were on hand for the ceremony.
Family members placed floral tributes near the entrances of the mountain’s climbing trails.
Koichi Inooka, 54, of Tokyo, who lost a younger brother and his wife in the disaster, climbed the mountain after the ceremony, carrying the camera his brother had used to take pictures of the scenery until immediately before the eruption.
A memorial service was also held separately in the village of Otaki, Nagano Prefecture.
Entry is still banned in areas within 1 km of the summit’s crater.
The eruption highlighted shortcomings in safety guidelines in some of the most vulnerable areas of the country.
Tourist sites near Ontake have experienced a sharp decline in visitors since the eruption.