One month on, Japan mourns 28,000 deaths

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The Independent Online

Hanami season is usually a time for Japan to let its collective hair down, celebrating the arrival of spring cherry blossoms by partying in parks and city streets.

But this year, lights in Tokyo are dimmed, restaurants are half-empty and most cherry blossom parties are a muted affair, overshadowed by the tragedy of exactly a month ago, when an earthquake triggered a massive tsunami.

Nearly 28,000 people are dead or missing, many unlikely to be found after being washed out to sea. Police in radiation suits only began last week searching for about 2,400 bodies inside the toxic 20km exclusion zone around the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.