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Candlelit services mark 3 yrs. after Fukishima

TAIPEI -- Candlelight memorial services will be held simultaneously in Taiwan and Japan on March 11 to mark the third anniversary of a devastating earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan, the organizers said Friday.

The services will be held at Chung Shan Creative Hub in Taipei and in Japan's Fukushima Prefecture in memory of the victims of the 2011 disaster, said Lily Ikeda, the chief organizer of the Taipei memorial.

In Taipei, the participants will light 500 candles that were made by residents of Fukushima, one of the hardest hit areas, Ikeda said.

The memorial services in Taipei and Fukushima will be broadcast live so that the participants on both sides can feel connected, said Ikeda, who came to Taiwan for the second year to organize memorial events for the March 11, 2011 quake.

The candlelight service is one in a series of memorial events she has planned this year.

Starting Saturday, a three-day photo exhibition will be held at Chung Shan Creative Hub, featuring the lives of Fukushima residents who are trying to get back on their feet after the disaster, Ikeda said.

She said three documentary films will be shown — two on Fukushima's folk culture and one about an elderly woman who has been trying to preserve the prefecture's traditional culture.

Many people have come to equate Fukushima Prefecture with radiation contamination because of the meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant after the 2011 disaster, said Ikeda, a Fukushima native.

“But through these activities, I want to introduce different aspects of Fukushima, such as its culture, to the people of Taiwan,” she said.

Ikeda is an artist who also works as a Japanese-Chinese language interpreter and translator.

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