Japan has marked the third anniversary of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that killed 15,884 people and left 2,636 unaccounted for.

During a ceremony in Tokyo, officials and representatives of the survivors offered a minute of silence to mark the moment when the magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck off the Tohoku coast. It was the strongest quake recorded in Japan's history and the fifth strongest ever recorded anywhere in the world.

Three years later, nearly 270,000 people remain displaced from their homes, including many from Fukushima prefecture who may never be able to return home due to radioactive contamination.

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Children in an earthquake simulation exercise at a school in Tokyo on the third anniversary of the earthquake and tsunamiReuters
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Two-year-old Nao Watanabe plays in a ball pit at an indoor playground built because of concerns about outsdoor nuclear radiation, in Koriyama, west of FukushimaReuters
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Two-year-old Sakuya Zui plays at the indoor playground in Koriyama which was built for children who refrain from playing outside because of concerns about radiationReuters
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A girl wearing a mask sits in a school bus heading to the Emporium kindergarten in Koriyama, west of FukushimaReuters
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A doctor conducts a thyroid examination on a five-year-old girl at a clinic in a temporary housing complex in Nihonmatsu, west of the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plantReuters
A Geiger counter, measuring a radiation level of 0.442 microsievert per hour,  at a park in KoriyamaReuters
Members of the media and Tokyo Electric Power Co employees walk past a wall lined with thousands of paper cranes inside the main anti-earthquake building at the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plantReuters
A moment of silence marks the anniversary of the magnitude 9.0 earthquake striking off Japan's coast in 2011Reuters
Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko pay tribute to the victims of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami at the national memorial service in TokyoReuters
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People arrange electric candles to pay tribute to the victimsReuters
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Candles form the words: "Iwaki, bonds of friendship, 2014" in Iwaki, Fukushima prefectureReuters
People pray in front of Kobe's light of hope memorial, which spells out "3.11", the time the earthquake struckGetty
Paper lanterns at a memorial at Yuriage Junior High School in NatoriGetty
A woman prays in the snow for victims in RikuzentakataReuters
Tsunami evacuation centreGetty
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Memorial engraved with the names of victims at Okawa Elementary School in IshinomakiGetty
Police officers and firefighters search for missing people near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plantReuters
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Prayers for victimsReuters