Japan on Friday commemorated the fifth anniversary of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that left more than 18,000 dead or missing in 2011. The country observed a minute’s silence at 2.46 pm, the time the 9.0-magnitude quake struck. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Emperor Akihito offered flowers at a memorial ceremony in Tokyo.

The tsunami cut power supply to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, triggering one of the world’s worst nuclear disasters since the 1986 Chernobyl incident. The radiation leak that ensued forced the evacuation of more than 160,000 people. The disaster was followed by anti-nuclear protests, with scores of people unable to return to their homes despite extensive decontamination work.

This is how the day is being marked around the country:

Buddhist monks chant prayers in Sendai for the victims of the disaster. (AFP/Toru Yamanaka)
Buddhist monks chant prayers in Sendai for the victims of the disaster. (AFP/Toru Yamanaka)
People pray in Sendai for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami. (AFP/Toru Yamanaka)
People pray in Sendai for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami. (AFP/Toru Yamanaka)
A man prays at a park in Tokyo. (Reuters/Toru Hanai)
A man prays at a park in Tokyo. (Reuters/Toru Hanai)
Decontamination workers observe a moment's silence. (Reuters/Kyodo)
Decontamination workers observe a moment's silence. (Reuters/Kyodo)
A girl and her grandmother leave flowers on a beach in Sendai. (AFP/Toru Yamanaka)
A girl and her grandmother leave flowers on a beach in Sendai. (AFP/Toru Yamanaka)
A man prays towards the sea. (Reuters/Kyodo)
A man prays towards the sea. (Reuters/Kyodo)
Lanterns from Natori city are lit during an event to pray for victims of the disaster at the Canadian embassy in Tokyo, a day before the five-year anniversary of the disaster. (Reuters/Issei Kato)
Lanterns from Natori city are lit during an event to pray for victims of the disaster at the Canadian embassy in Tokyo, a day before the five-year anniversary of the disaster. (Reuters/Issei Kato)