Today 9th March, 2015 marked the 4th anniversary of the deadly Tsunami disaster which swept away thousands of people and sparked a nuclear crisis in Japan.
Remembrance ceremonies were held in towns and cities around the disaster zone and in Tokyo, where the country's monarchs, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko led tributes to those who died in Japan's worst peace-time disaster.
Victims and volunteers were seen joining hands in prayer near the shell of a tsunami-hit building in Minamisanriku which is one of the many stark reminders of the destruction.
A national minute of silence followed the wail of tsunami alarm sirens at 2:46 pm (0546 GMT) which is the exact moment a 9.0-magnitude undersea quake hit.
The National Police Agency said a total of 15,891 people are confirmed to have died in the disaster while another 2,584 listed as missing. Human remains are still occasionally found.
Speaking at the remembrance ceremony, Emperor Akihito said:
"The situation surrounding disaster victims remains severe. It is important to continue making efforts to build a safer land without forgetting this lesson."