Due to both the tsunami damage and the radiation evacuation zones many who lost family members in the disaster have been unable to bury loved ones in family graves.
In Miyagi Prefecture, about 2,100 bodies were buried as a last resort in six cities and towns. This is unusual in a nation where the dead are almost always cremated and their ashes placed in family tombs.
Many of the cemeteries are still being repaired, others reside in the evacuation zone further frustrating the need to bury family members in family graves. This all becomes more urgent for people wishing to complete burials before Bon in mid-August.
Hajime Matsumoto, 63, a farmer in Minami-Soma in the prefecture, held a funeral in June for his mother, Ai, who died in the tsunami. But Matsumoto cannot bury his 81-year-old mother’s remains because his family’s cemetery is just 15 kilometers from the nuclear plant.
“We’ll build a new family grave outside the no-entry zone, but I’m sad because only my mother will be buried there. I want to put her with our ancestors,” Matsumoto said as tears welled in his eyes.
The additional emotional toll on people already struggling with losing homes, family and friends is considerable. The entire story at Daily Yomiuri
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