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AP PHOTOS: Devastation lingers in Japan

Saturday - 3/9/2013, 12:06am  ET

FILE - In this Friday March 11, 2011 file photo, Earthquake-triggered tsunami sweep shores along Iwanuma in northern Japan. Japan marks two years since the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster on Monday, March 11. (AP Photo/Kyodo News, File) JAPAN OUT MANDATORY CREDIT, NO LICENSING ALLOWED IN CHINA, HONG KONG, JAPAN, SOUTH KOREA AND FRANCE

TOHOKU, Japan (AP) -- Two years after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that killed nearly 19,000 in Japan, residents of coastal towns flattened by the wall of water are still trying to recover.

The slow pace of reconstruction is taking a psychological toll on survivors, while radiation from the destroyed Fukushima nuclear plant adds to the anxiety. About 160,000 people were displaced by the nuclear disaster, and even some areas outside the 20-kilometer (12-mile) zone that initially was completely off-limits are too contaminated to be cleaned up in the foreseeable future.

It remains unclear how many people will eventually return to their homes, given fears over potential risks from the radiation and the lack of jobs.

The second anniversary of the disaster is Monday, March 11.

Here's a gallery of images that illustrate the day the tsunami hit and aftermath.


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