A ceremony was held Sunday to remember the 276 victims of a pair of powerful earthquakes that struck primarily in Kumamoto Prefecture eight years ago.

About 30 people, including bereaved relatives, attended the ceremony held at a disaster prevention center built adjacent to the Kumamoto Prefectural Government building in the city of Kumamoto in 2023.

At the start of the ceremony, all participants observed a minute of silence. Kumamoto Gov. Ikuo Kabashima and others laid flowers for the victims.

"We are resolved to make Kumamoto a place where people can live happily with peace of mind, without forgetting the lessons we learned from the huge sacrifices," the governor said in a speech.

The annual ceremony had been held at the prefectural government building. This year, the venue was changed to the disaster prevention center where a memorial has been erected.

Of the 276 people who lost their lives in Kumamoto Prefecture and neighboring Oita Prefecture due to the quakes, 221 died because of indirect causes related to the disasters.

The foreshock occurred on the night of April 14, 2016, followed by the main temblor in the small hours of April 16. Both earthquakes registered near or above the maximum level of 7 on Japan's seismic intensity scale.

All of those people living in temporary housing units in Kumamoto Prefecture had left the residences by March 2023. The Kumamoto Prefectural Government held the final meeting of its post-disaster reconstruction headquarters on April 5 this year.