Japan fell silent today to mark the second anniversary of the country's worst natural disaster in living memory, an earthquake and subsequent tsunami that left 19,000 people dead or missing and devastated large areas along its northeast coast. "I pray that the peaceful lives of those affected can resume as soon as possible," Emperor Akihito said at a memorial service in Tokyo. But two years after the disaster, more than 300,000 people remain displaced and the cleanup and reconstruction process is ongoing, the AP reports.
Around half of those still displaced are evacuees from around the Fukushima nuclear plant, where meltdowns occurred at three reactors after tsunami waters knocked out cooling systems. The country's 50 nuclear reactors were shut down after the disaster and only two have reopened since, but Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is continuing his push to restart them after safety checks, the BBC reports. At Fukushima, thousands of workers are still decontaminating and decommissioning the plant, a process expected to take up to 40 years.