The Bishop of Lichfield has led local church representatives in a period of silence to remember those killed in the 2011 Japanese tsunami.

More than 17,000 people died when the coast of Japan was struck on March 11 six years ago.

The Right Revd Dr Michael Ipgrave told the Diocesan Synod how his own visit to the area had shown him the impact of disaster.

“A massive earthquake off the coast of Japan triggered a huge tsunami which resulted in the death of more than 17,000 people, widespread destruction of buildings and communities, and potentially catastrophic nuclear leakage,” he said.

Prayers at the Westminster Abbey service. Pic: Shu Tomioka

“I visited the devastated areas a year later, and have remained in contact with those involved in the work of rebuilding lives and communities since – the Japanese Anglican Diocese of Tohoku, though small and limited in resources, has been at the forefront of much of this.”

A message from the Bishop of Lichfield, who ho has close links with Japan after spending two years as a curate there in the 1980s, was read out on Saturday at a memorial vigil at St Margaret’s Church at Westminster Abbey, attended by over 500 people.

Those attending attached ‘blossoms’ to a symbolic cherry tree as an act of remembrance.

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