Japan: 2 years after the tsunami


TWO YEARS. Sumiko Yoshida (R, w/glasses) and her sister Katsue Nagano (L) pray at the tomb during the prayers for five of their family members who were killed in the March 11, 2011 tsunami in Rikuzentakata city one day before the second anniversary of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami disasters, in Rikuzentakata on March 10, 2013. AFP PHOTO / TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA

Japan on Monday marks the second anniversary of a deadly tsunami that killed nearly 19,000 and sparked the worst nuclear accident in a generation. In a national ceremony in Tokyo, the government will observe a moment of silence at 2:46 pm (0546 GMT), the moment a 9.0-magnitude earthquake struck on March 11, 2011. The quake triggered a killer tsunami that swallowed coastal communities and forced the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant to go through meltdowns. The government will need up to four decades to dismantle the crippled reactors despite reassurances the Fukushima plant is stable. Japan remains undecided over whether to continue using nuclear energy. Only two of its 50 commercial nuclear reactors have been restarted.

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