3 Years On, Prayers Offered for Kumamoto Quake Victims

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Mashiki, Kumamoto Pref., April 16 (Jiji Press)--Officials of the municipal government of Mashiki offered silent prayers on Tuesday for the victims of the powerful earthquakes that hit the town and other areas in Kumamoto Prefecture, southwestern Japan, three years ago.

"We'll place top priority on rebuilding the lives of afflicted people," Mashiki Mayor Hironori Nishimura said. "We expect postdisaster reconstruction will take 10 years, but we hope to shorten the period as much as possible."

The town government called on staff employees at 10 municipal facilities to pray silently for the victims at 8:30 a.m. (11:30 p.m. Monday GMT).

At the makeshift town government building, some 50 workers, before starting the day's work, stood in a line in a corridor of the second floor and offered prayers for one minute with their eyes closed.

Mashiki was heavily damaged by the 6.5-magnitude foreshock that struck on April 14, 2016, and the 7.3-magnitude main shock two days later. In the town, both temblors measured the highest reading of 7 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press