March 6, 2017
New York- A memorial service for the victims of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan was held in a Manhattan church on Sunday, ahead of the sixth anniversary of the disaster.
Some 420 people, including Japanese residents, offered prayers in First Church of Christ, Scientist, according to the organizer of the ceremony.
Participants at the event also called for support for people affected by the strong earthquakes that hit Kumamoto Prefecture and its vicinity in southwestern Japan in April last year.
Takeshi Matsunaga, the fourth-generation master of a pottery studio in the village of Nishigo, Fukushima Prefecture, delivered a speech at the event. The studio produces Obori Soma ware, a traditional craft product originally from the town of Namie in the same prefecture.
"To preserve culture is an important measure to conserve our hometowns and keep alive one's life and identity," said the 28-year-old pottery operator, who took over the family business after the disaster. "By making Obori Soma ware more popular, I hope to help Namie remain in the hearts of many people."
The studio moved from Namie to Nishigo following the nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.' Fukushima No. 1 power plant. The accident, which was triggered by the 2011 disaster, has kept many former Namie residents from returning home. Jiji Press
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