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March 11th, 2012
Japan’s silence in anniversary of earthquake and tsunami

Japan on Sunday stood on silence to mark the first anniversary of the devastating earthquake and tsunami which struck the north-eastern coast of the country, killing nearly 19,000 people and triggering the world’s worst nuclear crisis since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

At dawn today, dozens of people from across Japan gathered at coastal town of Rikuzentakata to offer prayers for loved ones lost in the disaster.

The magnitude 9.0 quake, the most powerful since records began, triggered a serious nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Thousands of people were evacuated as radiation leaked from the plant.

Shortly after the quake, an immense surge of water enveloped the north-eastern coast as a tsunami swept cars, ships, and buildings away, crushing coastal communities.

The twin natural disasters claimed more than 15,800 lives, and more than 3,000 people remain unaccounted for.

Memorial services were held and a minute of silence was observed at the exact moment the quake hit, media reports said.