(Source: AFP/VNA)

The quake, measuring 9.0 on the Richter scale, struck under the Pacific Ocean on March 11th, 2011, and the resulting tsunami caused widespread damage and took the lives of thousands of people. Some 73,000 people from the disaster-hit areas have yet to return to their hometowns.

Prince Akishino, the second son of Japanese Emperor Akihito, expressed hope that the tsunami would raise awareness and help prevent or mitigate damage from future natural disasters.

“It is my earnest hope … that we hand down the knowledge to future generations in order to protect many people from the dangers of disasters,” he said.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Prince and Princess Akishino took part in the anniversary ceremony held in central Tokyo. Visitors offered flowers for the victims, hoping that the memories of the disaster would not fade.

“I offer my condolences to those who lost their beloved family members and friends,” said Abe, dressed in formal mourning attire./.

Compiled by BTA