Japan is paying tribute to more than 18,000 people who lost their lives five years ago in a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and huge tsunami, which also triggered the worst nuclear power disaster since Chernobyl.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Japan’s Emperor Akihito are leading the memorial.
Abe spoke on the eve of the fifth anniversary:
“There is no rebirth of Japan without the recovery of northern Japan,” he said. “Under this unshaken belief, I am renewing my determination to build a new northern Japan, which is full of hope.”
1) Hard to believe it's been 5 years since the 3/11 quake/tsunami in Japan. Here's a photo I took in the days after pic.twitter.com/osBeMRCmaK— Daisuke Wakabayashi (@daiwaka) March 10, 2016
The Fukushima nuclear power station suffered a triple meltdown as a result of the disaster, forcing 160,000 people to flee radiation. The amount of radioactive water found there has exceeded 700,000 tons in the five years since the catastrophe.
Nationwide, over 174,000 people are still displaced as a result of events on March 11, 2011, including almost 100,000 from Fukushima.