Today Japan marks the second anniversary of the massive earthquake and tsunami that devastated Pacific coastal areas of the Tohoku region. In the disasters, more than 18,500 people were killed or went missing. It is a time to pray for the souls of these people.

Many survivors are still struggling with the scars of the disasters — emotional, financial and otherwise — as they try to restart their lives. Some 315,000 people are still forced to live away from their homes, including more than 150,000 people who had to evacuate because of radiation risks associated with the Fukushima nuclear power plant catastrophe.

The Abe administration has decided to increase overall spending for reconstruction of areas hit by the 3/11 disasters from ¥19 trillion to ¥25 trillion. But the increase does not automatically ensure that reconstruction will be carried out in a manner that truly enhances the well-being of disaster victims.