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Morning of first anniversary of Japan's tsunami

Sunday, March 11, 2012 - 02:26

Mar. 11 - Japanese marks the first anniversary of the quake and tsunami disaster. Sophia Soo reports.

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As day breaks in the port city of Ofunato, residents wake up to the first anniversary of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami that killed thousands. The few residents that remained said the past year has been hard. (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) 72-YEAR-OLD OFUNATO RESIDENT FUKIKO NAGASAWA SAYING: "It's been a fleeting one year. I've been living the one year without being able to think about the future." Like the rest of the country, the town will observe a moment of silence at 2:46 p.m. when the quake struck. A "bell of hope" will ring, and mourners will sail out to sea to release lanterns. In the ghost town of Okuma, where the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant lies, 20 residents and politicians returned briefly to pay their respects. The 11,000 residents of Okuma and nearly 80,000 other people across Fukushima prefecture were forced to evacuate due to the high radiation. For 93-year-old Tomoe Kimura, it was a chance to go back to where she lost four family members. The bodies of two of them have not yet been found. (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) 93-YEAR-OLD TOMOE KIMURA SAYING: "I'm just so sad, as it was a wonderful place. If it weren't for all that's happened, I would be able to come back as well. But thanks to Tepco I wasn't even able to search (for my family's bodies)." In Tokyo about 80 anti-nuclear protesters gathered outside the headquarters of TEPCO which operated the Fukushima Daiichi plant. The protesters say they're not convinced nuclear power is safe. (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) 55-YEAR-OLD PROTESTER HIYOKO TAKI, SAYING: "The government keeps on saying it's safe, it's all lies. I'm particularly worried about our children." Just two of Japan's 54 nuclear reactors are still in operation, and they are expected to close for routine maintenance by the end of April. The 9.0 magnitude quake unleashed a tsunami that wiped out Japan's northeastern coast, killing nearly 16,000 people with almost 3,300 still missing. Hundreds of thousands were made homeless. Many still live in temporary accommodation. Sophia Soo, Reuters.

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Morning of first anniversary of Japan's tsunami

Sunday, March 11, 2012 - 02:26