Memorial held for victims of 2018 Hokkaido quake

People in a town in the northern prefecture of Hokkaido are commemorating the victims of a powerful earthquake that struck the region three years ago.

The town of Atsuma was hit hardest, suffering 37 deaths. Many of the victims were engulfed by massive mudslides triggered by the jolt.

A memorial for the victims was unveiled in the town on Sunday, one day before the three-year anniversary.

The monument features the design of clock hands pointing to 3:07 a.m., the moment the quake struck.

In a memorial service following the unveiling ceremony, Town Mayor Miyasaka Shoichiro pledged to continue reconstruction work that would be considerate of survivors and not leave anyone behind.

A representative for bereaved families, Nakata Masashi, said the effects of the quake can still be seen in mountainous areas and that some people have yet to get used to their new living environment. But he said he would continue to work for the town's recovery while also carrying thoughts of the victims in mind.

The participants laid flowers at an altar set up at the venue.