Photos: Triple tragedy for Japan

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  1. Office workers in Tokyo look at smoke rising over the skyline after the magnitude 9.0 earthquake off Japan's northeast coast on March 11, 2011. (Xinhua via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Waves pour over a seawall and roar into a seaside village near the mouth of Hei River on March 11 as the tsunami generated by the massive earthquake hits shore. (Mainichi Newspaper via EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Hotel employees squat around a pillar at the hotel's entrance in Tokyo after the powerful earthquake on March 11. (Itsuo Inouye / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. A tsunami wave sweeps away homes in its path in Natori, Miyagi prefecture, on March 11. (Kyodo News via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. One house bursts into flames after the tsunami swept it and many of its neighbors off their foundations in Natori on March 11. (Kyodo News via Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Shaken evacuees gather in Shinjuku Central Park in Tokyo on March 11. (Kyodo News via Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. An aerial photo shows Sendai Airport being inundated by a tsunami on March 11. Later reports said the first wave hit 26 minutes after the quake struck at 2:46 p.m. local time. (Kyodo News via Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. A swirling pattern is evident in this aerial photo of the tsunami as it hit a port in Oarai, Ibaraki prefecture on March 11. (Kyodo News via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Toya Chiba, a reporter for local newspaper Iwate Tokai Shimbun, is swept away while taking pictures at the mouth of the Owatari River during the tsunami at Kamaishi port, Iwate prefecture. Chiba managed to survive in the rush of water by grabbing a dangling rope and climbing onto a coal heap around 30 feet high after being swept away for about 100 feet, Kyodo News reports. (Kamaishi Port Office / Kyodo via Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Natural gas containers burn in Chiba Prefecture near Tokyo, on March 11. The massive earthquake triggered many fires, posing additional problems for first responders. (Kyodo News via Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Containers for cargo are strewn about like giant Legos in Sendai, Miyagi prefecture, on March 12. (Itsuo Inouye / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. People use a floating container to ferry survivors to higher ground in Kesennuma City, Miyagi prefecture, on March 12. (Kyodo News via Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Cars swept into a jumble by the tsunami are seen in Hitachi City, Ibaraki prefecture, on March 12. (Yomiuri via Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. A line of residents seeking water snakes across the playground of a school in Sendai, Miyagi prefecture, on March 13, two days after the earthquake. (Kyodo News via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Japanese firefighters rescue tsunami survivors in Natori, Miyagi prefecture, on March 13. (EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. A Japanese home drifts in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Sendai in this photograph taken on March 13. (Dylan McCord / U.S. Navy via Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. A woman cries while sitting on a road in the devastated city of Natori, Miyagi prefecture, on March 13. (Asahi Shimbun / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. An "SOS" signal scrawled on the sports field of a high school beckons potential rescuers on March 13 in the town of Minami Sanriku, Miyagi prefecture. (Kyodo News via Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
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    The body of a victim of the twin disaster lays on the stairs of a destroyed house in Sendai, Miyagi prefecture, on March 13. (David Guttenfelder / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Sixty-year-old Hiromitsu Shinkawa waves to members of Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force preparing to rescue him about 9 miles off Fukushima prefecture on March 13. Shinkawa survived by clinging to a piece of roof after the tsunami hit his hometown of Minamisoma. (Japanese Defense Forces via AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. People walk along a flooded street in Ishimaki City, Miyagi prefecture on March 13. (Kyodo News via Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. An explosion at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant sends a plume of smoke skyward on March 14. The blast was believed to have been caused by a buildup of hydrogen inside the reactor building, caused by the partial meltdown of nuclear fuel inside. The plant was crippled after the earthquake cut power to the station and tsunami waves knocked out backup generators. (NTV / FCT) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. A 1-year-old boy is re-checked for radiation exposure after being decontaminated in Nihonmatsu, Fukushiima prefecture, on March 14. (Toru Nakata / Asahi Shimbun via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. Officers examine a Mitsubishi F-2 fighter jet of the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force on March 14. The warplane was swept by the tsunami into a building at Matsushima base in Higashimatsushima, Iwate prefecture. (Kyodo News via Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. Japanese rescue team members carry the body of a man out of the village of Saito on March 14. (David Guttenfelder / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  26. A woman survivor is reunited with her relatives at a shelter in Rikuzentakata in Iwate prefecture, on March 15. (Lee Jae-Won / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  27. A bicyclist wheels across a hellish landscape in what was the city of Minami Sanriku, Miyagi prefecture, on March 15. (David Guttenfelder / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  28. Tsunami survivors cook on an open fire in front of their damaged house in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, on March 15. (Kyodo News via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  29. Vehicle headlamps illuminate a devastated section of Yamada town, Iwate prefecture, on March 16. (Jiji Press via AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  30. Evacuees carry bowls of pork soup from a soup kitchen to a makeshift shelter in Minami Sanriku, Miyagi prefecture, on March 16. (Tsuyoshi Matsumoto / The Yomiuri Shimbun via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  31. Refugees, including 53 people who were rescued from a retirement home during the tsunami, take shelter inside a school gym in the leveled city of Kesennuma, Miyagi prefecture, on March 17. (David Guttenfelder / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  32. Members of Japan Self-Defense Force pray over the body of a tsunami victim in Onagawa, Miyagi prefecture, on March 20. (Shuji Kajiyama / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  33. Tomoko Yagi looks at two firetrucks that were tossed around like toys in the tsunami in Kamaishi, Iwate prefecture, on March 20. (Lee Jae-Won / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  34. Survivors relay boxes of relief supplies arriving at their evacuation center in Ishinomaki, Miyagi prefecture, on March 21. (Kunihiko Miura / The Yomiuri Shimbun via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  35. A boat juts out from the top of a building in Otsuchi, Iwate prefecture, on March 22. (Hiroto Nomoto / The Yomiuri Shimbun via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  36. Manami Kon, 4, uses the Japanese "hiragana" characters she just learned to write a letter to her missing mother in the devastated city of Miyako, Iwate prefecture, on March 22 . "Dear Mommy. I hope you're alive. Are you OK?" read the letter, which took about an hour to write. Also missing were the little girl's father and sister. (Norikazu Tateishi / The Yomiuri Shimbun via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  37. Tokyo Electric Power Co. workers collect data in the control room for the Unit 1 and 2 reactors at the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant on March 23. (Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  38. An aerial photo taken by an unmanned drone shows the damaged units of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant on March 24. (Air Photo Service via EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  39. Two residents exchange words as they are reunited two weeks after the earthquake and tsunami in a makeshift public bath set up outside a shelter in Yamamoto, Miyagi prefecture, on March 25. (Shuji Kajiyama / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  40. A Japanese funeral parlor worker shovels dirt onto the coffins of victims of the earthquake and tsunami at a mass funeral in Yamamoto, Miyagi prefecture, on March 26. (David Guttenfelder / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  41. A lone pine tree stands in a devastated area iof Rikuzentakaka, Iwate prefecture, on March 27. It was the only one among tens of thousands of other pine trees forming "Takata Matsubara," or Takata seaside pine forest, standing after the March 11 tsunami washed away all the others, local media said. (Kyodo News via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  42. A woman whose house was washed away loses control of her emotions on March 29 as she talks about the disaster that befell her hometown of Kesennuma, Miyagi prefecture. (Kuni Takahashi) Back to slideshow navigation
  43. Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, left, talk with evacuees at Tokyo Budoh-kan evacuation center on March 30. (Issei Kato / Pool via AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  44. Officials of the Tokyo Electric Power Co., (TEPCO), including Chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata, center, Vice President Takashi Fujimoto, second from left, bow before a news conference at the company's head office in Tokyo on March 30. (Itsuo Inouye / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  45. A man rides a bicycle in between the ships that were washed ashore by the March 11 tsunami, on March 30, in Kesennuma, Miyagi prefecture. (Eugene Hoshiko / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  46. An elderly woman waves to her grandchildren in Minamisanriku, Miyagi prefecture, on April 3, as authorities began a mass evacuation of approximately 1,100 homeless survivors to shelters elsewhere. (Jiji Press via AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  1. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  2. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  3. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  4. Editor's note:
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  1. Image: Magnitude 8.9 Strong Earthquake Jolts Northern Japan
    Xinhua via Getty Images
    Above: Slideshow (46) Triple tragedy for Japan
  2. Image: Kawauchimura Village in the Radius of 20-30 km from Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant
    Koichi Kamoshida / EPA
    Slideshow (9) Devastation in Japan after quake
updated 4/11/2011 1:19:01 AM ET 2011-04-11T05:19:01

Japan held somber ceremonies Monday to mark one month since a massive earthquake and tsunami devastated its northeastern coast, killing up to 25,000 people and unleashing a nuclear crisis that engineers are still struggling to contain.

With thousands of bodies yet to be found, a tsunami-flooded nuclear power plant still spewing radiation and more than 150,000 people living in shelters, there was little time for reflection on Japan's worst disaster since World War II.

"Even after a month, I still cry when I watch the news," said Marina Seito, 19, a student at a junior college who recalled being in a basement restaurant when the 9.0-magnitude earthquake hit March 11. Plates fell and parts of the ceiling crashed down around her.

At the Miyagi prefecture (state) capital building in hard-hit Sendai, which has been transformed into a bustling command center for recovery efforts, all activity stopped at 10 a.m. local time, with everyone bowing their heads for a moment of silence, including Miyagi Governor Yoshihiro Murai.

"I want everyone to join hands and overcome this crisis, moving steadily toward recovery," Murai told reporters afterward.

Image: A family offers a silent prayer for tsunami victims
Kimimasa Mayama  /  EPA
Kaori Sasaki, a 37-year-old junior high school teacher, offers a silent prayer for her husband, her father and other victims killed by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, with her 6-year-old son Sotaro, 10-year-old daughter Ayaka, and mother Chiyoko, 67, at a makeshift evacuation center in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, northern Japan, April 11.

Other ceremonies were planned for 2:46 p.m., the exact moment of the magnitude-9.0 earthquake that spawned the giant wave.

"We offer our deepest condolences to those who lost their loved ones," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said Monday at a brief news conference where he pledged the government would do whatever it could to help survivors and end the nuclear crisis. "We are sorry for causing inconvenience and difficulties to those who still live in shelters."

The earthquake and tsunami flattened communities along hundreds of miles of coastline, causing what the government estimates could be as much as $310 billion in damage.

No running water, power
More than 158,000 people are still without electricity and 210,000 have no running water, although some of that is because of a 7.1-magnitude aftershock that rattled the area last week.

Adding to the misery is radiation spewing from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear complex 140 miles northeast of Tokyo, which lost its cooling systems when water from tsunami washed over it.

Video: In nuke-weary Japan, protests and distractions (on this page)

Frustrations are running particularly high among people like Atsushi Yanai, a 55-year-old construction worker forced to live in a shelter not because his home was destroyed but because it is within the evacuation zone.

Government officials have ordered people out of the zone because of radiation concerns, and those farther from the plant may also be told to leave as the crisis drags on.

"We have no future plans. We can't even start to think about it because we don't know how long this will last or how long we will have to stay in these shelters," Yanai said. "This is what is so hard for us."

Ahead of the anniversary, nuclear safety official Hidehiko Nishiyama apologized for the worry and inconvenience caused by the radiation spilling from the plant, where cooling systems disabled by the March 11 tsunami still have not been restored and likely won't be for several months.

"We've done all we could to come this far," Nishiyama said Sunday. "Unfortunately, we still cannot give any timeline for when we can move on to the next phase, but we are hoping to achieve a sustainable cooling system, contain radiation and bring the situation under control as soon as possible."

Story: Japanese move into houses month after quake

Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. reiterated Sunday that it is not considering entombing the hot reactors in concrete, as was done at Chernobyl in 1986 when a reactor fire burned out of control. Japan's nuclear crisis is the world's worst since then.

The crisis has sparked several anti-nuclear protests, but one of the largest took place Sunday in a Tokyo neighborhood where many students live. Thousands of people carrying "No nukes" signs gathered for a rally and then marched through the streets chanting and beating drums.

Elsewhere in the capital, about 140 miles southwest of Fukushima Dai-ichi, protesters demanding the closure of a different plant chanted "No more Fukushima" as they marched through government headquarters and past the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency.

Slideshow: Devastation in Japan after quake (on this page)

Sunday also saw Japanese and U.S. troops fan out along the coast for another all-out search for bodies by land, air and sea.

Television news showed them using heavy equipment to lift a boat washed inland by the tsunami so they could search a crushed car underneath. No one was inside.

Bodies found
The Japanese military said Monday that U.S. and Japanese troops found 103 bodies during the one-day operation, more than the 70 they located during a three-day push with even more troops a week ago.

Just 13,000 deaths have been confirmed so far, and many bodies have likely washed out to sea and will never be found.

Some families who had been living in shelters were able to take a tentative step toward normalcy over the weekend, moving into boxy, gray temporary houses lined up in a junior high school parking lot in the port city of Rikuzentakata.

Each unit is just 320 square feet, but replete with modern comforts such as televisions, refrigerators, microwaves and washing machines — a welcome upgrade for the homeless, many of whom have slept on the floors of school gyms for a month.

So far there are 36 houses — just one for every 50 applicants. A lottery decided who got to move in.

"It's a mystery how we were lucky enough to be chosen. It's like a dream," said Sakai Sasaki, 80, who had been living with relatives.

The city hopes to complete 400 units in eight different locations by mid-May, although that will still cover only about one-quarter of the families in need. Other areas have similar plans, but Rikuzentakata's units are the first to be completed.

"When you think of the feelings of the evacuees, we want to build them even a day faster, or make just one unit more," said Saeki Suga, an official in charge of the housing plan for the city.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video: 6.6-magnitude aftershock rocks Japan

  1. Closed captioning of: 6.6-magnitude aftershock rocks Japan

    >> 6.6 magnitude tremor rocked japan again, exactly one month since the massive earthquake and tsunami put the island nation on the brink of nuclear catastrophe. john yang has the latest from tokyo. john, good morning.

    >> reporter: good morning, tamron. this was just the strongest of several sharp aftershocks today that rattled tokyo and northern japan. there was a tsunami warning that was put into effect but quickly taken down. it did briefly interrupt power at the fukushima power plant where workers are struggling to limit the radiation being emitted from the plant. it came on the same day the government announced they are expanding the evacuation zone around the plant from 12 miles to 20 miles. officials say that things seem to have stabilized at the power plant . things aren't getting worse anymore, but it will be quite ale while before things start getting better. tamron?

    >> john yang live for us

Timeline: Crisis in Japan

How events have unfolded since a 9.0 earthquake struck northeast Japan, triggering a deadly tsunami and nuclear power disaster.

  1. Image: The wave from a tsunami crashes over a street in Miyako City, Iwate Prefecture in northeastern Japan
    Ho / Reuters
    Above: Timeline Crisis in Japan
  2. Interactive Japan before and after the disaster

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