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March 12, 2012

Japan remembers, rebuilds one year after tsunami

Mourning the loss of almost 20,000 people gripped Japan yesterday on the anniversary of the March 11, 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster. While the nation has made enormous strides recovering from the triple disaster, yesterday was was a time for remembrance. But the country is rebuilding even as it still suffers the loss of lives and the economic effects of an estimated $210 billion price tag - the costliest natural disaster in human history. Gathered here are images from memorial services, the rebuilding efforts, and of people forging ahead with altered lives a year on from the catastrophe. -- Lane Turner (40 photos total)

Families release a paper lantern in memory of the victims of last year's earthquake and tsunami, on March 11, 2012 in Natori, Japan. (Daniel Berehulak /Getty Images)

Keiko Suzuki prays at the site where her home used to stand on March 11, 2012 in Rikuzentakata, Japan. Her uncle Kazuyoshi Sugawara who lived across the street was killed when his home was swept away by the tsunami last year. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images) #

Mihaya Sato, 15, cries with friends after the first graduation ceremony since last year's disaster at the Shizukawa Junior High School on March 10, 2012 in Minamisanriku, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan. (Daniel Berehulak /Getty Images) #

Tomoe Kimura (right), an evacuee of Okuma town, holds a bouquet with another evacuee as they walk towards a mourning event for those killed by the disaster during a temporary visit to the nuclear exclusion zone in Okuma town, Fukushima Prefecture on March 11, 2012. (Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters) #

People look at candles at a park in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture on March 11, 2012. Some 3,000 candles with messages written mainly by children lit the park to commemorate the first anniversary of the disaster. (Toru Yamanaka/AFP/Getty Images) #

Wakana Kumagai, 7, holds her illustration of her father, who was killed by the tsunami, herself and her mother in Higashimatsushima, Miyagi prefecture March 11, 2012. Her father Kazuyuki called his wife Yoshiko just after the March 11, 2011 earthquake to tell her to take the children to Omagari elementary school which was serving as a shelter. He was found near the shelter four days after the tsunami, Yoshiko said. (Toru Hanai/Reuters) #

Tetsuya Sato and his wife Akemi, whose relatives went missing in the tsunami, offer prayers for the victims at Kesennuma city in Miyagi prefecture on March 11, 2012. (STR/AFP/Getty Images) #

Buddhist monks offer prayers for victims of the disaster at Kitaizumi beach in Minamisoma, Fukushima prefecture on March 10, 2012. (Yuriko Nakao/Reuters) #

A couple pray where their home was before the disaster in Onagawa, Miyagi prefecture on March 11, 2012. (Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images) #

Wakana Kumagai (see picture number 7) visits the spot where her house used to stand in Higashimatsushima, Miyagi prefecture on March 11, 2012. (Toru Hanai/Reuters) #

People join hands facing the sea to mourn victims of the disaster in Minamisanriku town, Miyagi prefecture on March 11, 2012. (Kyodo/Reuters) #

Hikari Oyama, 8, plays with bubbles after she and her grandmother payed their respects at the memorial to victims of the last year's tsunami at the Okawa Elementary School, where 74 children were killed and 4 are still missing, on March 11, 2012 near Ishinomaki, Japan. "I thought bubble suits better for children rather than incense sticks, so that is why I play with bubble here. And it always makes people laugh and relax," Oyama's grandmother said. (Daniel Berehulak /Getty Images) #

People hang paper cranes designed as prayers for the the souls of victims of the disaster in Minamisanriku, Miyagi prefecture on March 10, 2012. (Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images) #

A woman looks at paper lanterns created at a memorial for the victims of the disaster in Koriyama, Fukushima prefecture on March 10, 2012. (Yuriko Nakao/Reuters) #

A woman attends a ceremony in an area damaged during the disaster in Ofunato, Iwate Prefecture on March 11, 2012. (Carlos Barria/Reuters) #

Paper lanterns, lit to mourn the disaster victims, are released into the sea in Yamada town, Iwate Prefecture on March 10, 2012. (Kyodo/Reuters) #

Beams of lights, marking the first anniversary of the disaster, illuminate the sky above a destroyed area in Kesennuma, Miyagi prefecture on March 11, 2012. (Toru Hanai/Reuters) #

A single pine tree that was left standing after the tsunami last year which swept away an entire forest, stands on March 10, 2012 in Rikuzentakata, Japan. The effected areas have been inundated with families and the limited amount of hotels in the area are at capacity with the world's media arriving to take part in ceremonies. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images) #

Mai Otomo, 17, whose father was killed by the tsunami, lays a flower bouquet on the Arahama beach and offers prayers for the victims in Sendai city in Miyagi prefecture on March 11, 2012. (STR/AFP/Getty Images) #

Koshi Kikuta, a sake brewer of Kakuboshi Co, a sake maker since 1902, mixes malted rice during a new sake brewing process in Kesennuma, which was affected by the disaster in Miyagi prefecture on February 21, 2012. (Toru Hanai/Reuters) #

Employees cerebrate after restarting a paper machine at the Nippon Paper Industries Co. Ishinomaki Mill in Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan, on March 9, 2012. The company restarted the main paper machine which was damaged by the tsunami. (Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg) #

A samba dancer walks carefully in the snow after performing at the opening of a temporary shopping complex at the Shizugawa district in Minamisanriku town north of Sendai on February 25, 2012. Small shops that were destroyed in the disaster resumed their businesses in prefabricated buildings. To survive, towns such as Yamada, Miyako or Minamisanriku need local people, who are increasingly drifting away to the cities, to hang on. But they also need to revamp industries - fishing and farming - and bring and retain longer-term investment and jobs. (Yuriko Nakao/Reuters) #

Tokio Ito welds on the first two fishing ships to be built since last year's tsunami destroyed the Kidoura ship building yard, on March 8, 2012 in Kesennuma, Japan. Numerous fishing towns had their equipment, factories, boats and livelihoods washed away. As a result large numbers of fisherman have turned to alternative industries, including laboring to clean the mountains of rubble left behind the tsunami, but most fight the uphill battle of rebuilding from scratch. (Daniel Berehulak /Getty Images) #

A Kanto Auto Works Ltd. employee inspects an engine for a Toyota Aqua hybrid vehicle on the production line of the company's Iwate Plant in Kanegasaki Town, Iwate Prefecture, Japan on March 9, 2012. Toyota now makes more cars in the Tohoku area than it did before the disaster, leading a regional recovery by electrical component suppliers and makers of cars and chips. (Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg) #

Tsuyako Kumagai, a survivor of the tsunami, touches a therapeutic robot baby seal called 'Paro' in temporary housing in Kesennuma, Miyagi prefecture on February 11, 2012. The seal robots have been made available to people living in temporary houses erected in a baseball stadium in the port town of Kesennuma, an area badly hit by the tsunami. (Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images) #

Photographer Kenichi Funada takes a portrait of Misako Yokota as part of the 3.11 Portrait Project at the Midorigaoka temporary shelter in Koriyama, Fukushima on December 17, 2011. The 3.11 Portrait Project, with the help of hair and makeup artists and other volunteers, takes portraits of earthquake survivors in Tohoku, many of whom lost all of their family pictures in the disaster. The portraits are then sent to schoolchildren from non-disaster areas, who frame the portraits and send them back to the survivors along with personal messages of support. (Yuriko Nakao/Reuters) #

Tokie Sakamoto reacts as she flips through an album of her family photographs, which were washed away by the tsunami, after receiving them from volunteer in Ofunato, Iwate prefecture on February 20, 2012. (Toru Hanai/Reuters) #

A man looks for his photographs at a collection center for items found in the rubble of an area devastated by the disaster in Sendai, Miyagi prefecture on March 9, 2012. (Toru Hanai/Reuters) #

Machines work to sort and clear massive piles of scrap metal and debris on March 9, 2012 in Rikuzentakata, Japan. The Japanese government faces an uphill battle with the need to dispose of rubble as it works to rebuild economies and livelihoods. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images) #

A bus is removed from a roof in Ogatsu district in Ishinomaki, Miyagi prefecture on March 10, 2012. (Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images) #

Police officers search for bodies in an area damaged by the disaster in Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture on March 9, 2012. (Carlos Barria/Reuters) #

Tei Eiki cries after paying her respects to the victims of the disaster in front of the ruined Minamisanriku Disaster Emergency Center during a bus tour of the devastated areas on March 5, 2012 in Minamisanriku, Miyagi prefecture. (Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images) #

Demonstrators denounce nuclear power plants in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture on March 11, 2012. Some 16,000 people took part in the rally. (Toru Yamanaka/AFP/Getty Images) #

A worker prepares to exit the emergency operation center at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan on February 20, 2012. (ssei Kato/Pool via Bloomberg) #

A temporary worker for the Fukushima prefectural government puts beans inside a radiation measuring instrument at the Fukushima municipal office Azuma branch in Fukushima, Japan on March 9, 2012. Fukushima city started measuring radiation in food items brought in by residents. (Yuriko Nakao/Reuters) #

Reina Endo, 7, is screened for radiation during a whole-body radiation check at the Minamisoma City General Hospital just outside the nuclear evacuation zone on March 9, 2012 in Minamisoma in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan. Radiation is still being emitted from the shuttered nuclear plant. Over 20,000 people are registered on waiting lists to get their radiation levels measured. (Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)#

Saiko Yokozeki holds a a Geiger counter with her children at a playground near her home in Tokyo on March 3, 2012. Becquerels and sieverts are part of everyday vocabulary, Geiger counters are household items in parts of the country, and saving electricity has become a year-round activity as the myth of clean and safe nuclear energy is dead. (Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)#

A child takes cover underneath his desk during a disaster drill named "Shakeout Tokyo" at Izumi elementary school in Tokyo on March 9, 2012. Tokyo's Chiyoda ward residents, commuters, office workers and school children held a mass disaster drill in preparation for the next big earthquake. (Issei Kato/Reuters)#

Takuro Shimamura (left) and Syogo Kashiwa, from the baseball club at Takata High School take a training run through the area damaged by the tsunami in Rikuzentakata City, Iwate Prefecture, Japan on February 14, 2012. (Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg)#

Hiromi Sato gave birth to her son Haruse at the Ishinomaki Red Cross hospital on March 11, 2011, the day of the disaster. In a fortunate twist of fate, her husband Kenji Sato took time off from work to see his third child born at a hospital in the nearby port city. A year on, the Satos are planning a quiet birthday with some cake and ice cream for the child who, his grandmother Kazuko insists, "was born to save us". (Yuriko Nakao/Reuters)#