Four years have passed since a major earthquake struck Christchurch, New Zealand, killing 185 people including 28 Japanese.
A memorial ceremony was held by Toyama College of Foreign Languages in Toyama on Sunday for 12 victims from the college who were attending a language training programme in Christchurch at the time. Bereaved families, classmates and other students attended the ceremony and prayed silently for the victims.
At the ceremony, Nobuaki Yamaya, who lost his 19-year-old daughter Mina in the quake, spoke on behalf of the bereaved families. "My daughter's death has caused a big empty space in my heart that I cannot fill," he said.
Yamaya, 57, quoted from calligraphy she left behind: "I will do my best. Though I may face difficulties, I believe a wonderful life lies ahead for me."
He then called on students attending the ceremony, "Please succeed in carrying out the dreams that our sons and daughters could not realise."