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2 years after quake, Kumamoto looks to future

The Yomiuri Shimbun

People pray in Mashiki, Kumamoto Prefecture, on Saturday where victims died in the foreshock of the Kumamoto Earthquake.

The Yomiuri ShimbunKUMAMOTO — Saturday marked the second anniversary of the Kumamoto Earthquake foreshock, which was followed by the main shock two days later.

Both quakes registered 7 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale. Nine people died in the first quake, and 41 died in the main quake. A total of 267 people have died as a result of the disaster.

A memorial service started at 10 a.m. at the Kumamoto prefectural government in the city of Kumamoto. About 320 people including Gov. Ikuo Kabashima prayed for the victims and pledged to preserve the memories and lessons learned from the earthquake.

Bereaved family members attended the ceremony. Hachiro Okonogi, the state minister for disaster management, and Keiichi Ishii, the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism minister, were also there. Everyone present offered silent prayers for the dead.

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  • The Yomiuri Shimbun

“We aim to achieve creative reconstruction by looking ahead 50 and 100 years from now. We’ll make Kumamoto a place where people can truly feel happy for generations to come,” Kabashima said.

Ryoko Matsuno lost her mother Misuko, 84, in the disaster. Matsuno, 61, served as the representative of the bereaved families. Her family home in Mashiki in the prefecture was destroyed in the main shock.

“I’ve lived on with the help of a strong bond with the local people, and my friends and relatives. I’m going to walk looking forward,” she said.

In Kumamoto Prefecture, 197,111 buildings were damaged in the series of quakes. That includes 8,648 homes that were totally destroyed.

There are currently 38,112 people still living in temporary housing units, including so-called minashi kasetsu private homes rented by local governments.Speech

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