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Commemorating the Victims of The Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

11.03.2015  02:20

4 years ago, on March 11th 2011 a terrible disaster hit Japan and the Japanese people. The Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami devastated the Tohoku area, caused almost 20,000 deaths and displaced even more people. Many have not yet returned.

The Danish people showed sympathy with and support for the Japanese people in the form of donations, moral support and assistance in the reconstruction phase. A friendship with the town of Higashi-Matsushima in particular was formed and remains strong.

Shortly after the earthquake, His Royal Highness Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark visited the area to hand over donations from Danish companies and to show sympathy with the people of the devastated areas – in particular the children.

The Embassy and Denmark continue to support the people of Tohoku, and today, on the 11th of March, the Embassy will fly the Danish flag on half-mast to commemorate the victims of the disasters.

The Crown Prince at Hamaichi Elementary School

The Crown Prince also visited Hamaichi Elementary School which had received a number of children who had lost their former school. The Crown Prince met with the school children for lunch and participated in a soccer match.

The Crown Prince in Higashi-Matsushima

In June 2011, the Crown Prince visited Higashi-Matsushima, where he met and talked with several of the victims. He visited the Nobiru area, which had suffered tremendous damage and temporary housing facilities for displaced families.  

The Crown Prince at a kindergarten in Higashi-Matsushima

A particular concern in Higashi-Matsushima was the impact the disaster had had on the children. The Crown Prince visited a kindergarten, which had been ravaged by the tsunami leaving the children the only option to flee the floods for safety. The kindergarten had just been able to reopen thanks to Danish donations.

The Danish Embassy's support facade

At the Embassy, we asked by-passers to sign our support posters in sympathy and support. The poster was put up in connection to the Danish Chamber of Commerce Japan support auction for the victims.

Picture after tsunami

Today, on the 4 year mark, the Danish Embassy commemorates the victims of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami. 

Picture after tsunami

In addition to the human loss and injuries, the earthquake and tsunami also caused extensive and severe structural damage in north-eastern Japan.

Picture from Higashi-Matsushima showing the devastation

Higashi-Matsushima, located in the Miyagi Prefecture close to the epicentre, was severely hit by the earthquake and the following tsunami causing at least 1,039 deaths.

A destroyed school in Higashi-Matsushima

The earthquake and tsunami caused a widespread destruction in Higashi-Matsushima, leaving 60 percent of the city in ruins.

The Crown Prince handing over donations from Danish companies to the Mayor of Higashi-Matsushima

Donations from Danish companies were handed over by the Crown Prince to the Mayor of Higashi-Matsushima, Mr. Abe, with a message of support and solidarity from the Danish people.

All the photos are taken by then Ambassador to Japan, Franz-Michael Skjold Mellbin. ©

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