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March 11, 2013
Recovery slow as Japan marks 2 years since tsunami

TOKYO (AP) - Amid growing dissatisfaction with the slow pace of recovery, Japan marked the second anniversary Monday of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that left nearly 19,000 people dead or missing and has displaced more than 300,000.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that the government intends to make "visible" reconstruction progress and accelerate resettlement of those left homeless by streamlining legal and administrative procedures many blame for the delays.

At observances in Tokyo and in still barren towns along the northeastern coast, those gathered bowed their heads in a moment of silence marking the moment, at 2:46 p.m. on March 11, 2011, when the magnitude 9.0 earthquake -- the strongest recorded in Japan's history -- struck off the coast.

Japan has struggled to rebuild communities and to clean up radiation from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, whose reactors melted down after its cooling systems were disabled by the tsunami. The government has yet to devise a new energy strategy -- a central issue for its struggling economy with all but two of the country's nuclear reactors offline.

(30 images)




tsunami_two_year_anniv_01.jpg
This combination photo taken March 11, 2011, top, by Kamaishi City, and Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013 by Kyodo News, shows a view of Kamaishi, Iwate prefecture. Japan today observed two years from the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami which devastated the northeastern Pacific coast of the country. Japan's progress in rebuilding from the mountain of water that thundered over coastal sea walls, sweeping entire communities away and killing nearly 19,000 people, is mainly measured in barren foundations and empty spaces. Clearing of forests on higher ground to make space for relocation of survivors has barely begun. AP / Kyodo News
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This combination photo shows a view of Minamisanriku, Miyagi prefecture, March 13, 2011, top, and Saturday, March 2, 2013. AP / Kyodo News
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This combination photo shows a bridge taken March 22, 2011, top, and Friday, March 1, 2013, in Ishinomaki, Miyagi prefecture. Japan today observed two years from the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami which devastated the northeastern Pacific coast of the country. AP / Kyodo News
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This combination photo taken March 11, 2011, top, and distributed by Kamaishi City, and Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013 by Kyodo News, shows a view of the harbor area of Kamaishi, Iwate prefecture. AP / Kyodo News
tsunami_two_year_anniv_05.jpg
This combination photo taken March 17, 2011, top, and Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013, shows the luggage claim area at Sendai Airport in Natori, Miyagi prefecture. AP / Kyodo News
tsunami_two_year_anniv_06.jpg
This combination photo taken March 11, 2011, top, and Monday, March 4, 2013 shows an aerial view of Sendai Airport in Natori, Miyagi prefecture. The airport resumed its operation about one month after the tsunami and functioned as the major base of the rescue operation. J AP / Kyodo News
tsunami_two_year_anniv_07.jpg
This combination photo shows a view of Ishinomaki, Miyagi prefecture on March 19, 2011, top, and Friday, March 1, 2013. AP / Kyodo News
tsunami_two_year_anniv_08.jpg
This combination photo shows an aerial view of Kesennuma, Miyagi prefecture on March 12, 2011, top, and Monday, March 4, 2013. Seen at left is the No. 18 Kyotokumaru fishing vessel that was swept away from a port by the March 11, 2011 tsunami. AP / Kyodo News
tsunami_two_year_anniv_09.jpg
This combination photo taken March 11, 2011, top, and Wednesday, March 6, 2013 shows a coastal residential area in Natori, Miyagi prefecture. AP / Kyodo News
tsunami_two_year_anniv_10.jpg
This combination photo taken March 13, 2011, top, and Saturday, March 2, 2013, shows the frames of Disaster Prevention Office building, center, and its surrounding area in Minamisanriku, Miyagi prefecture. AP / Kyodo News
tsunami_two_year_anniv_11.jpg
This combination photo shows a street in Miyako, Iwate prefecture, March 12, 2011, left, and Friday, March 1, 2013. Japan's progress in rebuilding from the mountain of water that thundered over coastal sea walls, sweeping entire communities away and killing nearly 19,000 people, is mainly measured in barren foundations and empty spaces. Clearing of forests on higher ground to make space for relocation of survivors has barely begun. AP / Kyodo News
tsunami_two_year_anniv_12.jpg
This combination photo shows an aerial view of Otsuchi, Iwate prefecture on April 10, 2011, left, and Monday, March 4, 2013. A sightseeing boat sitting atop a building by the March 11, 2011 tsunami was demolished and taken away while a shipyard which was totally destroyed by the tsunami has resumed its operation. AP / Kyodo News
tsunami_two_year_anniv_13.jpg
This combination photo taken April 10, 2011, left, and Friday, March 1, 2013, shows an aerial view of Kamaishi Port in Kamaishi, Iwate prefectutre. AP / Kyodo News
tsunami_two_year_anniv_14.jpg
This combination photo taken on April 26, 2011 and distributed by Defense Ministry, left, and taken on Sunday, March 3, 2013 by Kyodo News, shows reactor buildings, from foreground, Unit 1 to 4, in the tsunami-ravaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Okuma, Fukushima prefecture. AP / Kyodo News
tsunami_two_year_anniv_15.jpg
This combination photo taken April 12, 2011 and distributed by Nagatoshi Shimoeda, top, and taken Friday, March 1, 2013, by Kyodo News, shows a street in Futaba in the exclusion zone around the tsunami-ravaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima prefecture. AP / Kyodo News

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