Japan Marks 3 Years Since Triple Disaster

270K tsunami survivors still can't go home
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 11, 2014 12:07 AM CDT
Relatives of victims of the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami bow to the altar as they offer chrysanthemums for the victims of the disasters at the national memorial service in Tokyo today.   (AP Photo/Franck Robichon, Pool)
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(Newser) – 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 spoke at a memorial service, marking the moment the magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck.

Japan has struggled to rebuild tsunami-hit communities and to clean up radiation from the meltdown of Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. Reconstruction plans are finally taking shape, but shortages of skilled workers and materials are delaying the work. Nearly 270,000 people, many of them from Fukushima, are still unable to go home due to radioactive contamination. (Read more Japan stories.)

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