N.Y. Memorial Ceremony for Japan's 2011 Disaster Held Online


New York, March 7 (Jiji Press)--Participants offered silent prayers for the victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake in an online memorial service hosted by Japanese residents in New York on Saturday, almost a decade after the disaster devastated northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011.

"We must not forget the March 11 tragedy," Japanese Consul-General in New York Kanji Yamanouchi said at the ceremony. "We must surely pass the experiences down the generations."

The annual memorial service had been held at a church in New York since 2012. According to the organizer, participants in the gatherings have added up to 4,160 over the years. Last year's ceremony was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and this year's event was held online amid efforts to prevent the spread of the disease.

"I hope March 11 will be a day when people think of their loved ones," Akiko Iwasaki, the "okami" female manager of a "ryokan" Japanese-style inn in Kamaishi in the northeastern Japan prefecture of Iwate, said in a video message sent to Saturday's ceremony.

Touching on the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, which have been postponed to this summer due to the pandemic, Iwasaki said: "After overcoming the current strain, we believe we can see you with bright smiles. We're waiting for you in Japan."

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