'Hearts are in pieces' five years after tsunami hits Japan
Updated: 2016-03-11 09:17
A MOMENT OF SILENCE
At 2:46 p.m. (0546 GMT), the moment the quake hit, bells rang out in downtown Tokyo and people around the nation bowed their heads in a moment of silence. All the trains on Tokyo's vast underground paused for a minute.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Emperor Akihito bowed in front of a stage laden with white and yellow flowers in a Tokyo ceremony attended by 1,200 people, including survivors from the stricken area.
"Father, that day, I called your mobile phone so many times, but you didn't answer ... " said Masakiyo Kimura, who lost his parents to the wave in the city of Onagawa.
"Our house was completely torn from its foundation. Nothing remained except for the pair of matching teacups father and mother used, lying on top of each other."
Billions of dollars in government spending have helped stricken communities rise from the ruins, including elevating the earth to protect them from future waves and cleaning radiation-contaminated land, but much remains to be done for thousands still languishing in barracks-like temporary housing.
"I get the feeling that the number of people who don't know what to do, who aren't even trying, is increasing," said Kazuo Sato, a former fisherman from Rikuzentakata. "Their hearts are in pieces."