Nearly 19,000 people were either killed or went missing after the twin natural disasters hit the north-eastern part of the country on March 11, 2011. About 4,00,000 houses and buildings were destroyed in the disasters.
The administration responded to the destruction promptly and has rebuilt many roads and bridges but still over 3,00,000 people live in temporary houses. Several people also left the north-eastern region in the wake of the disaster.
On Monday, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko took part in a memorial ceremony here along with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The leaders of the nation met relatives of the victims on the occasion. The emperor congratulated the people for putting up a brave show against the adversity. He also thanked the international community for providing aid to Japan following the tragedy.
The disasters were also the more threatening for they had hit the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Three of the six reactors of the plant had suffered a meltdown. Over 1,50,000 people were forced to evacuate owing to fears of radioactive contamination.
On Sunday, people across the country took out anti-nuclear rallies demanding the government to scrap all nuclear power plants. Protesters in Tokyo even went to government ministry centres and headquarter of Tokyo Electric Power Co., which runs the Fukushima plant.