• Jiji

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Prayers were offered on Sunday for victims of a powerful earthquake that hit southern areas of Hokkaido two years ago.

In the town of Atsuma, where 37 people were killed by landslides, Mayor Shoichiro Miyasaka and city personnel offered silent prayers at a municipal welfare center at noon.

In a message to residents sent via a radio system for disaster prevention, Miyasaka expressed his determination for reconstruction.

He later told reporters, “We want to work with all residents to overcome difficulties, while always showing compassion to others.”

A flower stand was set up at a landslide site where land has been leveled.

Noriko Nakata, 42, who lost her elder brother in the quake, said, “This is not the place that is in my memory. It’s tough to see it.”

“I want to say thank you to him for watching over me,” she said.

The predawn quake occurred on Sept. 6, 2018, registering up to the maximum level of 7 on Japan’s seismic intensity scale. A total of 44 people lost their lives in the quake, including three who died due to indirect causes, and more than 2,300 homes were destroyed or heavily damaged.

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