TOKYO - Japan paused on Friday to mark five years since an offshore earthquake spawned a monster tsunami that left about 18,500 people dead or missing along its northeastern coast and sparked the worst nuclear disaster in a quarter century.
The complacency and cozy relationships blamed for the Fukushima nuclear accident are still a problem in Japan, experts warn, even as the country faces the probability of another earthquake and tsunami that could dwarf the 2011 catastrophe.
As Japan's "triple disaster" -- quake, tsunami and nuclear crisis -- unfolded after March 11, 2011, Associated Press journalists fanned out across the northern region of Tohoku to report and record what had happened in pictures, stories and video.
Shuya Takahashi, 54, lost his eldest daughter in the tsunami during the Great East Japan Earthquake. Takahashi, chief of the municipal government's department in charge of reconstruction policy in Higashi-Matsushima, Miyagi Prefecture, works to rebuild the city while continually detailing the efforts to visitors from developing nations.
They feel like refugees, although they live in one of the world's richest and most peaceful nations.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday said Japan "cannot do without" nuclear power, speaking on the eve of the fifth anniversary of the devastating Fukushima disaster.
A Japanese court Wednesday ordered the shutdown of two nuclear reactors previously declared safe under strict post-Fukushima safety rules, a decision that comes just days before the fifth anniversary of the atomic disaster.
Conservation group Greenpeace warned on Friday that the environmental impact of the Fukushima nuclear crisis five years ago on nearby forests is just beginning to be seen and will remain a source of contamination for years to come.
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Friday he has decided to temporarily suspend preliminary work on moving a U.S. Marine Corps base on Okinawa and will resume talks on the contentious relocation plan.
Japanese women are being exploited and abused in Japan's multi-billion dollar pornographic film industry, rights advocates said on Thursday, calling on authorities to strengthen laws to protect them.