Memorial park for 2011 disaster victims opens

A memorial park dedicated to the victims of the earthquake and tsunami that struck northeastern Japan in 2011 has opened on the shore of Ishinomaki City.

The 40-hectare park was built by the city, Miyagi Prefecture, and the central government at a former residential area devastated by the massive tsunami.

A cenotaph bears the names of the victims. People offer prayers for them at a dedicated square.

An opening ceremony was scheduled for Sunday, but it was cancelled due to the coronavirus.

But residents came to lay flowers at the square and offer silent prayers while facing the sea.

The park features a preserved signboard set up by a local group shortly after the disaster to encourage Ishinomaki's residents.

Group member Kurosawa Kenichi says the space means a lot for people who used to live in the area.

An exhibition hall that conveys the experiences and lessons of the disaster was also due to open on Sunday, but its opening was postponed because of the coronavirus.