Yuko Sugimoto (right) stands reunited with her 5-year-old son, Raito, on a road in Japan's Miyagi prefecture, 2012. This photo was taken at the same place where she was photographed immediately after the tsunami in March 2011.
Credit Toru Yamanaka and Roslan Rahman / AFP/Getty Images
On March 11, 2011, at 2:46 p.m. (JST) Japan changed as a nation. A magnitude 9.0 earthquake, the largest to ever hit the island nation, and subsequent tsunami claimed more than 16,000 lives. One year later, the recovery efforts continue, as does the mourning.
Members of the media, wearing protective suits and masks, visit the tsunami-crippled Fukushima nuclear power station during a press tour, in northeastern Japan's Fukushima prefecture, Feb. 28. Japan is marking the first anniversary of the March 11 tsunami and earthquake, which triggered the worst nuclear accident in the country's history.
A year after suffering the worst nuclear accident in its history, Japan is still struggling to understand what happened at the Fukushima nuclear plant in the country's northeast.
Last week, an independent commission released a report arguing that Japan narrowly averted what could have been a far deadlier disaster and that the government withheld this information from the public.
One year ago this Sunday, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake off Japan triggered a tsunami that killed 20,000 people. It also triggered multiple meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station, one of the worst nuclear disasters in history.
But health effects from radiation turn out to be minor compared with the other issues the people of Fukushima prefecture now face.
A woman picks carrots on her farm as she explains her fears that no one will buy them since the radiation fallout in March 2011 in Fukushima, Japan. A year later, challenges persist for farmers in the region.
The mountain village of Kawauchi lies partly inside the area deemed unsafe because of high levels of radiation in Japan's Fukushima prefecture. Chiharu Kubota uses a high-pressure water gun to hose down buildings there.
Radiation is still leaking from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, which suffered multiple meltdowns immediately after last year's earthquake and tsunami.
After the earthquake, workers were sent inside Reactor 1 to release some of the pressure building up inside of the reactors.
Almost one year ago, the Fukushima nuclear disaster nearly led to a global catastrophe, if not for the efforts of a small group of engineers, soldiers, and firemen, who risked their own lives in the days after the disaster to prevent a complete nuclear meltdown.