Japan is marking the third anniversary of a devastating earthquake and tsunami that left nearly 19,000 people dead or missing, turned coastal communities into wasteland and triggered a nuclear crisis.
In Tokyo, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Emperor Akihito will speak at a memorial service Tuesday to mourn for the victims, marking the moment the magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck.
Japan has struggled to rebuild tsunami-hit communities and to clean up radiation from the meltdowns of Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. Reconstruction plans are finally taking shape, but shortages of skilled workers and materials are delaying the work.
About 270,000 people are unable to return home, many of them from Fukushima, due to radioactive contamination.