Japan is marking the fifth anniversary of the meltdown of the Fukushima nuclear plant. On March 11, 2011, a massive earthquake and tsunami hit the northeast coast of Japan, killing 20,000 people. Another 160,000 then fled the radiation in Fukushima. It was the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl. At least 100,000 people from the region have not yet returned to their homes. A full cleanup of the site is expected to take at least 40 years. A representative of the families of the victims spoke during Friday’s memorial ceremony in Tokyo.
Kuniyuki Sakuma: “For those who remain, we are seized with anxieties and uncertainties that are beyond words. We spend life away from our homes. Families are divided and scattered. As our experiences continue into another year, we wonder: 'When will we be able to return to our homes? Will a day come when our families are united again?'”
The Fukushima nuclear meltdown sparked massive anti-nuclear protests across Japan and led to a four-year nationwide moratorium on nuclear plants. The moratorium was lifted, despite sweeping opposition, last August.