Japan has held a minute's silence for the thousands of people killed exactly one year ago today in a devastating earthquake and tsunami.
The powerful earthquake with a magnitude of 9.0 struck at 5.46am British time on March 11th 2010.
Half an hour later the 75-foot tsunami ripped through coastal towns and villages leaving a trail of death and destruction.
This morning, as dawn broke survivors returned in the sleet and rain to where they once lived to offer up prayers for loved ones.
Almost 16,000 people died.
And even one year on authorities are still searching for 3,000 people who are missing.
In the port of Ofunato, hundreds residents dressed in black gathered at the town hall to lay white flowers at an altar dedicated to the town's 420 dead and missing.
– Kosei Chiba, lost his mother and wife in the disaster
We can't just stay sad. Our mission is to face reality and move forward step by step. But the damage the town suffered was too big and our psychological scars are too deep. We need a long time to rebuild.
Half a mile from the wrecked Fukushima plant, where reactor meltdowns triggered the world's worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl, residents of the abandoned town of Okuma were allowed back for a few hours to honour the dead.
– Tomoe Kimura, lost four members of her family in the tsunami
It was a wonderful place. If it wasn't for all that's happened, I'd be able to come back. I wasn't even able to search for the bodies of my relatives.
Anti-nuclear protests have been taking place outside the headquarters of the Tokyo Electric Power Company.
Protestors claim that TEPCO's negligence was responsible for radiation leaking from the site.
To mark the anniversary TEPCO has issued a fresh apology.
– Toshio Nishizawa, TEPCO President
We deeply apologise to residents near the Fukushima Daiichi plant, the people of Fukushima and wider society for the grave troubles and worries caused by the incident.
The nuclear plant's dismantling and the clean-up of an area the size of Luxembourg will take decades at an incalculable cost using technologies yet to be developed.