LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Communities in Los Angeles and across the world are pausing to remember the devastating earthquake that rocked Japan one year ago today, killing nearly 20,000 people.

The magnitude-9.0 quake spawned a massive tsunami and caused a meltdown at the Fukushima Nuclear Reactor.

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On Sunday, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa issued the following statement:

“Today we remember the devastation caused by the Japanese earthquake that took place a year ago. Our thoughts and prayers continue to go out to those who lost loved ones during this unforgettable tragedy. The City of Los Angeles stands beside Japan and her people during this time of recovery.

“Although we cannot predict when catastrophes will strike, Los Angeles has some of the most aggressive emergency management systems in place and I have made emergency preparedness a top priority of my administration.

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“Because of Emergency Management Initiatives I instituted as Mayor, today our city has a partnership with FEMA, an up-to-date and clearly articulated Citywide strategic emergency management vision with required compliance to national standards, emergency plans that are updated on an annual basis from all City departments, City employees that are aware of and trained in disaster response, and improved department structures to better coordinate and communicate emergency management activities.

“Throughout this tragedy, the Japanese people have displayed a remarkable collective resilience. Their perseverance and nobility in the face of disaster have served as a lesson to us all. I urge every Angeleno to take the precautions necessary to keep safe in the event of an emergency here at home by visiting readyla.org.”

In the Fairfax District on Saturday, the local Japanese community gathered at a street festival at the Grove to show their appreciation for American aid after the disaster.

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The Consulate General of Japan in Los Angeles and the Japanese Business Association of Southern California organized the event.