Japan marks fifth anniversary of tsunami tragedy

Video report by ITV News' China correspondent Debi Edward.

Japan is marking the fifth anniversary of the tsunami and earthquake that killed more than 18,000 people and left many missing.

The country's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Japan's Emperor Akihito led a memorial service to remember the victims of the disaster that happened on 11 March 2011.

Around 1,200 people attended the Tokyo ceremony, including survivors from the affected areas.

Other memorial services were held throughout the country and a nationwide moment of silence was observed at the exact moment that the magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck.

The tsunami also triggered the world's worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant was destroyed and suffered meltdowns in three reactors, forcing 160,000 people to be evacuated from nearby towns due to radiation.

Some areas are still no-go zones due to high radiation and 174,000 evacuees of those who fled still live in temporary accommodation.

Most settled outside their hometowns and have begun new lives.

But many residents say not enough has been done to prevent another disaster happening in the future.

Mourners from across the country stopped to remember the victims of the disaster. Credit: Reuters

Demonstrators had also gathered in front of Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco), the operator of the destroyed Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant carrying signs saying, "Give me back my hometown!"

Japan's prime minister pledge to continue support for reconstruction of communities, despite government spending on reconstruction expected to dip from the start of the new financial year in April.

Tsutoshi Yoshida and his wife Seiko pray for their daughter Miki who was killed in the disaster. Credit: Reuters

Flags at central government buildings were at half-mast, some draped in black on Friday in remembrance of the dead and missing.