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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 January 22 - 28  > Gov’t will stop holding annual memorial ceremony for 2011 disaster victims after 2021
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2020 January 22 - 28 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Gov’t will stop holding annual memorial ceremony for 2011 disaster victims after 2021

January 22, 2020

The government on January 21 decided to discontinue an annual memorial ceremony for victims of the 2011 Great East Japan Disaster after holding the last one in 2021, which will mark the 10th anniversary of the disaster.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide announced this decision at a press conference after the Cabinet meeting on the day. Explaining the reason for the discontinuation, Suga said, “The 10-year mark can be an opportunity to end the government-hosted ceremony. After the 10th anniversary, the government will decide what to do to commemorate the victims while taking into account specific situations.”

Almost nine years have passed since the devastating earthquake and tsunami which triggered the nuclear meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. However, there still is a long way to go before disaster victims’ lives, businesses, local communities can return to normal. The Reconstruction Agency data shows that the number of evacuees totals 49,000. In Fukushima Prefecture, at least 40,000 people are unable to go back to their hometowns and are living as evacuees. The reconstruction is progressing very slowly.

Commenting on the government decision to stop holding the memorial ceremony, Ito Tatsuya, a Fukushima resident, said that the government lacks sympathy for people in Fukushima. Ito, who heads the Fukushima residents’ group fighting a damage suit over the Fukushima nuclear accident, pointed out that efforts to deal with the aftermath of the nuclear accident will continue into the next century. He said, “In towns and cities near the Fukushima NPP which were evacuated by government order, populations are estimated to decrease to half in the near future. Those municipalities are facing an existential threat. As the ongoing decommissioning work of reactors at the crippled Fukushima plant is prone to accidents, residents nearby are concerned about a possible accident there.” He criticized the government for making light of damages cause by the nuclear disaster.

Past related articles:
> 75% of general public recognize reconstruction from Fukushima nuclear disaster as insufficient
[March 9 and 12, 2019]
> Evacuees of Fukushima nuclear disaster neglected by the government [April 26, 2018]
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