Silence as Japan marks six months after tsunami

Silence as Japan marks six months after tsunami

About 2,000 people observed a moment's silence at a public gymnasium in Minamisanriku in memory of 900 people who were killed in the March disaster, which also destroyed 60 per cent of the town's buildings.

It was one of a string of events planned along the Pacific Coast which was ravaged by huge waves following the 9.0-magnitude tremor that struck 130 kilometres offshore at 2:46 pm on March 11.

"We never give up hope and vow to unite as one in building a new town so that we can make up for the sacrifice of precious lives of many people," Minamisanriku mayor Hitoshi Sato said at the remembrance service.

The destructive waves also sparked meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, sparking an ongoing nuclear crisis.

In Tokyo and elsewhere, rallies were planned to protest against nuclear power following the Fukushima crisis, the worst nuclear accident since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

The six-month anniversary of the quake-tsunami came amid embarrassment for Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's new government after trade minister Yoshio Hachiro resigned on yesterday over remarks deemed insensitive to Fukushima evacuees.

After touring the Fukushima plant and the no-go zone with Noda on Thursday, Hachiro described the plant's neighbourhood as a "town of death."