Three years ago today, at 2:46 p.m, the northeast of Japan suffered a 9.0-magnitude earthquake — one of the most powerful temblors on record — forcing the evacuation of up to about 470,000 people. The earthquake triggered a huge tsunami which in turn shut off power to Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant which suffered 3 core meltdowns as a result. This disaster is called in Japanese the Tohoku Daishinsai 東北大震災.

I was visiting the Turner exhibition at the Kobe City museum (last day – April 6th) today, and at 2:46 the museum PA announced a 1-minute silence 黙とう (literally “silent prayer”) in memory of the tragedy and those who perished in it.

I know I will never forget the images I saw on the TV that day as the tsunami surged in while people tried desperately to escape in cars or on foot. (Click here for YouTube search results for “Touhoku Daishinsai 東北大震災.)

It seems just the other day Japan was remembering the Great Hanshin Earthquake (阪神神戸大震災 Hanshin Kobe Daishinsai), a 6.8 Richter-scale earthquake (7.2 on the Japanese scale) which struck at 05:46 JST on the morning of January 17, 1995, killing about 6,434 people, many by the fires which raged shortly afterwards (there was no tsunami). Five of my friends by great good fortune survived; their houses were ruined.

The major English-language news outlets of course cover the anniversary of the March 2011 earthquake and its aftermath . Here are some extracts I have selected from the Nikkei Asian Review, the Japan Times, the Mainichi Daily News and the Asahi Shimbun (English).