Memorial Services Held 15 Yrs after Deadly Niigata Quake

Society Lifestyle

Nagaoka, Niigata Pref., Oct. 23 (Jiji Press)--Memorial services were held in many places Wednesday to mourn 68 people killed in a powerful earthquake that struck the central Japan prefecture of Niigata 15 years ago.

The earthquake registered 7, the highest figure on the Japanese seismic intensity scale, in part of the prefecture.

Some 300 people attended a ceremony held in what was the village of Yamakoshi, now part of the city of Nagaoka. Fireworks were set off to console the victims and pray for the reconstruction of damaged areas.

At 5:56 p.m. (8:56 a.m. GMT), the exact time when the quake jolted the Chuetsu central region of the prefecture on Oct. 23, 2004, a bell was rung by those including Tadanari Nagashima, 11, a Yamakoshi Elementary School sixth-grader and grandchild of the late Tadayoshi Nagashima, who was mayor of the village at the time. Participants offered silent prayers.

"Passing down lessons we learned from the disaster is our responsibility," Niigata Governor Hideyo Hanazumi said at the ceremony.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press