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Mourners Mark One Year Since Japanese Earthquake, Tsunami

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Mourners gathered in Japan to remember those lost in the massive earthquake and tsunami that struck one year ago today. NY1's Dean Meminger is covering the anniversary and filed the following report from one of the hardest-hit areas.

In the Fukushima Prefecture, mourners remembered the thousands killed in last year's tsunami. They formed a seaside human chain as close as they could to the crippled nuclear plant that had a meltdown and spewed radiation across the countryside.

In Tokyo, a prayer service was held by some of the 100,000 who were evacuated because of the threat of radiation.

In the Ginza, the Times Square of Tokyo, when the clock struck 2:46 p.m. – the exact moment the earthquake hit a year ago – people stopped to pay their respects.
Not far away, in Hibiya Park, thousands more gathered for a moment of silence.

"At that moment, everything just disappeared," said memorial participant Eri Harada. "Parents, kids, life."

Besides remembering the tragedy, many took the occasion to take a stand against nuclear energy.

"We all know what a volatile physical terrain that Japan has," said Suzanne Jensen. "So I always have thought it was a crazy idea to build nuclear power plants here."

But other memorial participants didn't seem to be as concerned.

"I think maybe people outside Japan are more concerned than people in Japan are," said Nathaniel Kent. "It's very difficult to know, with such a complicated thing, what to believe and what not to believe."

Jimmy Bermeo, a Queens resident in Tokyo, said he had no lingering fears about the disaster.

"I don't think there's a real danger out here now," he said. "I think people are just getting back to their lives getting used to it and just dealing with the whole situation."

The anniversary was also an opportunity for Tokyo residents to show support for the farmers near the Fukushima Power Plant. One group is trying to convince people to buy produce from the region.

"We found that there are some foods that we can still eat from Fukushima," said community activist Mamiko Yoshiawa. "If it is very high contamination we cannot sell it, of course."

The same group is also raising funds to get bananas and other foods to the children who remain in the Fukushima area.

It's another reminder that this tragedy is long from being over.

More Coverage

See Dean Meminger's full series of reports from Japan.

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