Silent prayers to mourn the 44 who lost their lives in the Eastern Iburi Earthquake 3 years ago

Atsuma’s Mayor Miyasaka (second from left) and town officials bow in silence in front of the newly erected monument. Noon on September 6, Kyomachi, Atsuma.

September 6 marked the third anniversary of the Eastern Iburi Earthquake, the first earthquake in Hokkaido to measure a seismic intensity of 7, killing 44 people throughout the region. Silent prayers were held for the victims, by residents of the town of Atsuma in the Iburi region of central Hokkaido, which suffered the most damage during the earthquake, and where 37 people died. In the towns of Mukawa and Abira in the same region, too, residents renewed their determination to trace memories of the time of the earthquake, and pass on their experiences and lessons learned, to the next generation.

Approximately 50 town officials held silent prayers in front of the monument in central Atsuma, where an unveiling ceremony was held on the 5th. “We aim to carry out reconstruction while taking-in the thoughts of the victims,” said Mayor Miyasaka Shoichiro. Bereaved families visited a tribune set up in the town, to lay flowers for the victims from around 3:07 a.m., the time the earthquake occurred.

The Eastern Iburi Earthquake occurred at 3:07 a.m. on September 6, 2018, when a maximum seismic intensity of 7 was observed for the first time in Hokkaido, in the town of Atsuma in the Iburi region of central Hokkaido. The epicenter was a depth of approximately 37 km, just east of the center of the Iburi region. A total of 44 people were killed: 37 (including one related to the earthquake) in Atsuma, three in Sapporo (including two related), two in Tomakomai, one in Mukawa and one in the town of Shinhidaka; a further 785 people were injured. A total of 49,417 residences were damaged and a blackout occurred across the region, leaving approximately 2.95 million homes without electricity.