Japan remembers 1,500 tsunami victims

Japan remembers 1,500 tsunami victims

Rikuzentakata, a city in northeastern Japan, held a memorial event Sunday to commemorate more than 1,500 residents who lost their lives in the quake-triggered tsunami two years ago.

According to data from the government of Iwate prefecture, 1,556 people from Rikuzentakata have been confirmed dead in the disaster while 217 were still missing by the end of February, Xinhua reported.

About 19,000 people were killed or were reported missing in the disaster, which devastated the country's northeastern region.

A magnitude-9 quake hit the country March 11, 2011. It led to a massive tsunami that crippled the Fukushima nuclear power plant, blowing up four of its nuclear reactors.
Radioactive elements from the damaged power plant have been detected in seawater and marine organisms up to 600 km from Japan, BBC says.

More than 80,000 people had to leave the area, but radiation levels in some places remain too high for them to return home.

The government says it could take up to 40 years to fully decommission the plant and clean up surrounding areas.