Bereaved Japanese families attend 9/11 ceremony

Bereaved families of Japanese nationals who were killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks 20 years ago attended a memorial ceremony in New York City on Saturday.

The 2001 attacks claimed the lives of 2,977 people, including 24 Japanese.

Among the participants was 56-year-old Sugiyama Harumi. Her husband Yoichi was killed at the age of 34. Yoichi was a banker and had been transferred to New York the year before.

He was at his office on the 80th floor when the second hijacked plane crashed into the World Trade Center's South Tower. Part of his body was found and identified in a DNA test seven months later.

Harumi visited the site with his photo for the first time in five years. She offered a silent prayer at 9:03 a.m., the exact time when the plane crashed into the building, and at 9:59 a.m., the moment when the tower collapsed.

The names of the victims, including Yoichi, were read out.

Harumi said her determination not to be defeated by terrorism and to live happily with their children again has kept her going for the past 20 years.

She said she will think about how to live her life, and she feels her husband is watching over her and telling her she could come back when something happens.