Christchurch remembers for 10-year anniversary of the Great East Japan earthquake

The twin tragedies of the Christchurch earthquake and the Japan earthquake in 2011 are stark reminders of human vulnerabilities to natural disasters, Christchurch mayor Lianne Dalziel says.
Dozens gathered at the Christchurch World Peace Bell for the 10-year memorial service of the Great East Japan earthquake on Thursday.

In a message read out on her behalf, Dalziel said it was hard for people in Christchurch to imagine the totality of the magnitude 9 quake that struck off the coast of Japans Thoku region.

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Dozens of people gathered at the World Peace Bell in Christchurch Botanic Gardens for the 10-year memorial of the Tohoku earthquake in Japan on March 11, 2011.

The March 11, 2011 earthquake, also known as the Thoku earthquake, triggered a devastating tsunami up to 38 metres high, killing more than 15,000 people and leaving more than 2500 still missing 10 years on.


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Both disasters were stark reminders of human vulnerabilities to natural disasters though, and the comparison of the rebuilds afterwards were familiar, Dalziel said.

A tale of two recovering cities could be told.

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Japanese consul Masaya Tanigawa speaks at the 10-year memorial service for the Tohoku earthquake at the World Peace Bell in Christchurch Botanic Gardens.

We have seen how disasters can pull people, and countries, closer together, she said.

Each country sent rescue teams to help the other, while the collapse of Christchurch's CTV building saw 28 English language students from Japan among the 115 dead.

Many Japanese residents were among the attendees at Thursday's ceremony in Christchurch.

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The bell was rung by the attendees of the 10-year memorial service at the World Peace Bell in Christchurch Botanic Gardens.

Christchurch resident Asako Suzuki said she felt grateful she could attend a memorial service in Christchurch, having lost friends to the tsunami in Japan.

Japanese consul Masaya Tanigawa also spoke at the ceremony, reflecting on the ties made between both countries.

As we stand in this tranquil and reflective spot in the beautiful Botanical Gardens, let us remember all those who lost their lives, their families and all who have been affected by those natural disasters, Tanigawa said.

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Students from Christ's College perform their award-winning waiata as part of the 10-year memorial service for the Thoku earthquake in Japan at the World Peace Bell in Christchurch Botanic Gardens.

Students from Christs College also performed their award-winning waiata as part of the event.

The World Peace Bell had been rung in Christchurch every year since the Thoku earthquake to remember those who lost their lives to the earthquake and tsunami.

Roy Sinclair, chairman of the New Zealand chapter of the association, said it was important to commemorate how New Zealand and Japan were linked by the twin tragedies.

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