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Candlelit prayers at ’95 quake memorial

The Yomiuri Shimbun

About 4,700 people gather to mark the 22nd anniversary of the Great Hanshin Earthquake in Chuo Ward, Kobe, early on Tuesday.

The Yomiuri Shimbun KOBE — Quake-hit areas in Hyogo Prefecture were filled with silent prayers on Tuesday, the 22nd anniversary of the Great Hanshin Earthquake, in which 6,434 people lost their lives.

A memorial service called “1.17 no Tsudoi” (Gathering for Jan. 17) was held at the Higashi Yuenchi amusement park in Chuo Ward, Kobe. About 4,700 people had gathered as of 7 a.m.

Approximately 7,000 bamboo lanterns were lit by the attendees, forming the date “1.17,” the year “1995” and the kanji character for “hikari” (light).

1995 was newly added this year for generations who did not personally experience the quake. The hikari character was meant to pray for the bright future of damaged areas nationwide, including locations hit by the Kumamoto Earthquake in April 2016.

The participants offered a silent prayer at 5:46 a.m., the time the Great Hanshin Earthquake occurred.

Kobe Port recovering

The container handling volume at Kobe Port, which was greatly damaged by the earthquake, has recovered to almost its level in 1994, before the earthquake. The volume in 2015 was 2.71 million, 93 percent of the 1994 volume and the highest level since the quake.

The volume in the first half of 2016 was 1.3 percent higher than the same period in the previous year. As a result, Kobe Port ranks second after Tokyo Port in terms of container handling volume in Japan, although Kobe Port had dropped to fourth temporarily from the top position before the quake. Speech



[Released on Jan. 17, 2017]

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