TOKYO — Japan has paused to mark five years since an offshore earthquake spawned a monster tsunami that left about 18,500 people dead and sparked the worst nuclear disaster in a quarter of a century.
Emperor Akihito, Empress Michiko, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and other participants at a national ceremony in Tokyo bowed their heads as did many residents across the affected region at 2:46pm (local time) — the exact moment on March 11, 2011, the magnitude 9.0 quake struck under the Pacific Ocean.
“Whenever I go to affected areas, I feel that the disaster is ongoing,” Mr Abe said at the memorial event, acknowledging the enormity of the task that remains even five years on.
“But step by step, reconstruction is steadily making progress.”
The massive earthquake unleashed a giant wall of water that swallowed schools and entire neighbourhoods, with unforgettable images spreading around the world of panicked residents fleeing to higher ground and vehicles and ships bobbing in the swirling waters of flooded towns.
The waves also swamped power supplies at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, causing reactor meltdowns that released radiation in the most dangerous nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986 and which continues to leave some areas uninhabitable.
“I hope people will remember us, that lives of evacuees are still difficult in many ways, including financially,” Kazuko Nihei, 39, said at a memorial event in a Tokyo park.
“This event is for recalling the disaster and cooperation among us,” said Nihei, who evacuated to Tokyo from Fukushima with her two daughters and now leads self-help group for mothers from the region.
The situation remains volatile in Fukushima prefecture, where the nuclear plant suffered explosions that spread radioactive material into the surrounding countryside and ocean.
The nuclear crisis forced tens of thousands of residents to flee their homes, farms and fishing boats and at one point even led to discussions about possibly evacuating the capital area and its 30 million people.
Civil service employees disagree ordinance
RUPANDEHI- The Nepal Civil Service Employees Union (Association) Province-5 has expressed discontent on the employees’ adjustment ordinance brought out by the government.
Noting that the employees’ adjustment ordinance was introduced against the common understanding of the employees, the committee on Monday submitted a 12-point memorandum to the federal government through Province-5 Chief Minister and Office of Council of Ministers.
It may be noted that a 22-point common concept was submitted to the government through Chief Secretary of the federal government after holding discussions among national level trade unions of civil service. The discussion was coordinated by the authentic trade union of civil service employees.
The committee has expressed disagreement on the issuance of employees adjustment ordinance-2018 against the share concerns against the shared concept of the employees.
The Nepal Civil Service Employees Union (Association) has been insisting on the government to adjust employees as per the Adjustment Act-2074 and immediately enforce the voluntary retirement plan as per the Clause 13 of the Act.
A team headed by Association Province-5 Chairperson Madan Gautam had submitted the memorandum to Secretary of Chief Minister and Council of Minister, Basanta Adhikari.Follow @gorkhapost