The Japanese Emperor and his wife have led a moment of silence in Tokyo to mark the third anniversary of the country’s devastating earthquake and tsunami.
Silent prayers are being held across the country in memory of the almost 19,000 people who died.
The Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, said much trouble and suffering had been overcome in the past, but every time the country bounced back stronger. He called on people to be inspired by their ancestors and unite to meet the challenges ahead.
The country is struggling to rebuild communities wiped out by the tsunami and provide adequate housing for the hundreds of thousands of people displaced.
Debate about the future use of nuclear power is also raging, with all of the country’s plants out of action since the disaster.