Japan marks 7 years since earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster
Thousands killed after most powerful earthquake in Japan's recorded history
Japan on Sunday marked the seventh anniversary of a deadly earthquake and tsunami that killed almost 15,000 people and triggered an unprecedented nuclear meltdown, rendering some lands uninhabitable.
At around 2:46 p.m. on March 11, a magnitude-9 earthquake, the biggest ever recorded in the nation's history and one of the five most powerful ever recorded in the world, struck off the coast of the northeastern Miyagi prefecture.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Prince and Princess Akishino took part in the anniversary ceremony held in central Tokyo. Visitors offered flowers for the victims, hoping that the memories of the disaster will not fade.
Though reconstruction has steadily progressed, more than 70,000 people still remain displaced and continue to live in temporary housing.
Some areas surrounding the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, which suffered a meltdown in three reactors, continue to be uninhabitable due to high radiation, and the decommissioning of crippled reactors still remain a struggle for operators — a task likely to take decades and cost tens of billions of dollars.