Fukushima people mourn victims ahead of 9th anniversary of quake, nuke disaster

Residents in Fukushima Prefecture held memorial ceremonies at various places on March 8, three days before the ninth anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake and ensuing nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.'s Fukushima Daiichi plant. In the Tairatoyoma district of Iwaki city, one of the areas hit hard by the disaster, about 80 residents prayed for the repose of victims in a ceremony held at the city's Toyoma central assembly hall. "We will build our own town through our own efforts," district head Moritoshi Endo, 75, told the gathering after the participants observed a moment of silence. "We would like to restore the hustle and bustle of our town." They then paid floral tribute and offered prayers. Most participants wore masks amid the nationwide spread of infections by the new coronavirus, and ceremony organizers called off most originally scheduled events, including a "Jangara nenbutsu odori" Buddhist folk dance by children. (Translated by Kyodo News)