A junior high school in a village near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has held its first graduation ceremony since resuming classes after the lifting of an evacuation order there. The order was issued after the plant's nuclear accident resulting from the massive 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
Iitate Junior High School was forced to operate in Fukushima City after the March 11 accident, as the entire Iitate Village was subject to the evacuation order. The school reopened there last April after the order was lifted for most of the village. The disaster occurred on the day of the school's graduation ceremony that year.
Twenty-two students graduated from the school on Wednesday.
At the ceremony, they thanked their teachers and parents, and spoke about their dreams for the future.
The school's principal told the students that they have walked down a path no others have walked before. She said that in the days ahead, they may face problems that seem to have no correct answers, but can make the path they chose the right one.
The students sang in chorus at the end of the ceremony and said goodbye to classmates and younger students.
One student said he's happy to have been able to graduate from junior high school in the village. He says it's sad to part with friends, but that he intends to enjoy his new life in high school.
Another student said she will never forget this day, and that she wants to help with the village's reconstruction.