Japanese expatriates in Taiwan yesterday held a memorial to commemorate those who were killed during the earthquake and tsunami that struck Tohoku in northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011.
The event, marking the third anniversary of the disaster, was held not only in memory of those who lost their lives in the massive quake and ensuing tsunami, but also as an expression of thanks to Taiwan for its post-disaster assistance, the organizers said.
Among the 200-plus attendees at the event were Japanese Representative to Taiwan Sumio Tarui and Lo Koon-tsan (羅坤燦), secretary-general of Taiwan’s Association of East Asian Relations, which handles relations with Japan in the absence of diplomatic ties.
Tarui expressed Japan’s heartfelt thanks to Taiwan, describing the country as “an important partner.”
“Three years have passed since the March 11 earthquake, but our gratitude to Taiwan has never diminished,” he said, promising to continue to promote Taiwan-Japan ties.
On behalf of the Taiwanese government, Lo expressed condolences to those who died and offered his hope that the residents in the affected areas of northeastern Japan can get back on their feet soon.
A moment of silence was observed in memory of those who died.
A video made by Japanese students, titled Beyond Description, was also shown at the event, which features Japanese people’s thank-you messages to Taiwan for its post-disaster assistance.
The event featured music and dance performances, and the national flags of Japan and Taiwan were on prominent view.
Participants were given an opportunity to lay flowers in tribute to the dead.
The magnitude 9 earthquake and subsequent tsunami killed nearly 20,000 people, mainly in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures.
In the wake of the disaster, Taiwan donated about US$260 million in aid to Japan, more than any other country.
Yesterday’s memorial event was one of a series of events in Taiwan to mark the anniversary of the quake.