Weather & Natural Disasters

Japan remembers its 2011 triple disaster

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Ken Ishii | Getty Images

March 11, 2011 brought a triple devastation to Japan: A magnitude 9 earthquake that caused a tsunami to wreak havoc along Japan's northeast coastline, which in turn caused a level 7 meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, sending radioactive material across huge areas of land.

The scars run deep for the families of earthquake and tsunami victims, as well as the hundreds of thousands of residents who were forced to flee their homes in the devastated areas, with many yet to return.

Click ahead to see how Japan has remembered the 3/11 disaster, from displays of grief to prayers for closure.

—By Justin Chan | Special to CNBC
Posted 11 March 2016

The Asahi Shimbun | Getty Images

A woman looks this week at a house in the city of Higashimatsushima in Miyagi prefecture that was ravaged by the tsunami. It stands uncleared, five years after the deadly disaster.

Ken Ishii | Getty Images

A man prays at the grave of his brother, who died in the tsunami in Sendai, Japan. He is not alone in his grief; 15,894 people lost their lives in the disaster, according to the National Police Agency.

Ken Ishii | Getty Images

On March 10, 2016, a 76-year-old man, who lost his house in the tsunami, stands by his old, now empty, address. Life hasn't returned to normal for many Japanese, with numerous towns and villages, such as Iitate in Fukushima, now ghost towns due to the nuclear fallout.

The Asahi Shimbun | Getty Images

Grieving family members lay flowers on the sea's surface, near an ongoing search operation by the Japan Coast Guard. There are still thousands of victims unaccounted for, leaving their families desperate for some form of closure.

Ken Ishii | Getty Images

A makeshift altar sits in the middle of a dry field in city of Sendai, with a bouquet of red flowers standing out against the cloudy, grey skies.

The Asahi Shimbun | Getty Images

A young man crouches in prayer on the same shore the tsunami swept across five years prior. The spotless beach shows no hint of 2011's devastation, a result of the efficient clean-up efforts of the Japanese government.

The Asahi Shimbun | Getty Images

A group of 800 people form a human chain along Yotsukara Beach on March 5, 2016, in remembrance of the 3/11 disaster. Despite being the costliest disaster in human history, with an estimated damages bill of $285 billion, Japanese say their perseverance carried the nation through.

The Asahi Shimbun | Getty Images

In the city of Minamisanriku, candles are lit in commemoration of the people who perished in the 2011 tsunami; the candles symbolize the new hope and renewal in Japan's recovery from the tragedy.