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Shingo Kobayashi remembers what happened on March 11 of last year all too well. “It was the day our center was destroyed,” he says, resting his long fingers on a table at Minori-kai, a facility for the disabled in Natori, Japan. “It’s not there anymore.” He would be happy to talk about it but—he turns his wrist to show the face of his watch—it’s already a minute past 3:00 pm. And that’s when he leaves. Everyday. No matter what.

At Minori-kai, everyone’s day revolves around routine. And until 2:46 pm, March 11 was no exception. This center on Japan’s northeast coast, dedicated to the care of mentally and physically disabled members of the city, was established in 1984 as a support group for parents, but quickly evolved into the only option to help families care for adults with severe disabilities. Last March, four of Minori-kai’s five facilities, which serve 120 individuals, were destroyed, including a state-of-the-art center that the social welfare group had recently scraped together nearly $4 million to build.

At 2:46 pm, the staff and members of Minori-kai were having afternoon tea in the new center when a violent shaking rocked the building.“Everyone panicked,” recalls Akira Kasai, Minori-kai’s director. A staff member was able to check the news on his mobile phone and saw that there was a tsunami alert. As the center was less than a kilometer away from the sea, the staff made the immediate—and lifesaving—decision to pack everyone into the center’s buses and leave. “We threw away people’s wheelchairs and were carrying people to the buses,” recalls Kasai. As their caravan of buses raced inland toward the city hall, the members were quiet. “Nobody knew what was coming,” he says.

What was coming destroyed the huge swath of Natori that is still barren today. The debris of thousands of homes and businesses is heaped in massive piles on the water’s edge; the building where Minori-kai once stood is an empty dirt lot. Five members, including Kobayashi, lost their entire families. “It took a long time to confirm that their families had died,” says Suzuki. “It took even more time for them to understand. They slowly started to grasp that their family was gone.”

Without a live-in group home in Natori, all of the members whose caretakers died have had to leave town for facilities that could take them. Kobayashi was one of them. His mother, who was his sole guardian and who Suzuki says he rushed home to see at 3:00 pm each day, was killed in the tsunami. Suddenly, he was living with strangers for the first time in his life. Suzuki says it was not an easy transition. During a lunch break at an industrial waste recycling plant in Natori where he works during the day, Kobayashi polishes off his bento lunch and sits for a few minutes before going back on the clock. When asked about living at the group home, his eyes get red and he stares out the window over a steaming cup of miso. “Now, I like it,” he says. Tears let loose and track down his cheeks. “Now, I like it.”

Before the tsunami, Minori-kai had appealed to the city of Natori to put more money into welfare services for the disabled citizens like Kobayashi in the city. His mother knew she was getting older, and she and other parents had been increasingly anxious about what would happen to their children in the future. What was lost that day on March 11 was not only Minori-kai’s building. It was also their effort to reform this conservative town’s attitude toward the disabled. “The tsunami revealed the vulnerability of these people,” says Suzuki. “It revealed the necessity to take care of them.”

Rebuilding the facility will be the first step. For now, the day care for Minori-kai’s most disabled members is running out of an old veterinary hospital. On a Monday morning in late February, members arrive in the morning in a bluster, taking off their shoes in the entry hall and charging into the main activity room. Once inside, they visibly relax. Everyone finds their favorite spot—a chair at the table, a spot on the couch with the keyboard playing a bossanova track—and the day begins. It’s working, says Suzuki, but the space is not big enough. There is not enough room for the members to get outside and exercise and do sports, and no beds for them to rest during the day. “It’s a closed space,” she says. “Tension between the members is growing. They are louder and angrier than they were before.”

To rebuild a new facility, Minori-kai not only needs another $4 million—it needs land. But with everybody moving away from the coastal neighborhoods, inland plots are going for a premium that Minori-kai can’t afford. “Until we find the land, the city won’t approve the funding for the project,” says Suzuki. The organization has received some individual donations since the tsunami, and still gets about $85 per day for each patient from the national government. But all of this funding is only going to keeping up daily activities in the temporary facility, not toward building a new place that suits the needs of the members. “One year later, we’ve just started discussing the plan with the city government,” says Kasai. “In reality, these people don’t have any place to go if we aren’t doing this.”

Minori-kai is located at Miyagi prefecture, Natori City, Masuda. The organization accepts PayPal donations to la-minorikai@io.ocn.ne.jp and can be contacted by mail at Minori-kai / Miyagi-prefecture, Natori City , Masuda 5-3-12 / Japan 981-1224 / Attn: Mrs. H. Suzuki.

James Nachtwey is a TIME contract photographer. Follow him on Facebook here.

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Mourning the loss of almost 20,000 people gripped Japan yesterday on the anniversary of the March 11, 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster. While the nation has made enormous strides recovering from the triple disaster, yesterday was was a time for remembrance. But the country is rebuilding even as it still suffers the loss of lives and the economic effects of an estimated $210 billion price tag - the costliest natural disaster in human history. Gathered here are images from memorial services, the rebuilding efforts, and of people forging ahead with altered lives a year on from the catastrophe. -- Lane Turner (40 photos total)
Families release a paper lantern in memory of the victims of last year's earthquake and tsunami, on March 11, 2012 in Natori, Japan. (Daniel Berehulak /Getty Images)

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As 2011 draws to a close, Framework looks back on an eventful, tumultuous year, documented by the photojournalists of the Los Angeles Times.

It was a year marked by the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan; the Arab Spring in North Africa and the Middle East, with rebel uprisings and hard-fought battles resulting in the fall of Egypt’s president, Hosni Mubarak, and the capture and death of Libya’s Moammar Kadafi; and the humanitarian crisis of continued famine in Africa.

2011 also saw the somber 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks of 2001; the rise of the Occupy Wall Street movement; the royal wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton in London and their subsequent Southland visit; and the involuntary manslaughter trial, conviction and sentencing of Michael Jackson’s personal physician.

Carmageddon in Los Angeles, anticipated with dire predictions of monumental gridlock, turned out to be not so disruptive after all.

Almost nine years after the invasion of Iraq, the war was declared officially over with the withdrawal of all U.S. combat troops and their return home — in time for the holidays, no less.

As always, the worlds of entertainment, sports and celebrity are part of the gallery, adding a light, colorful touch to a memorable year.

Enjoy the look back with us, and have a wonderful 2012.

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WARNING: SOME IMAGES CONTAIN GRAPHIC CONTENT OR NUDITY
From the uprisings across the Arab world to the devastating earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan, there was no lack of news in 2011. Reuters photographers covered the breaking news events as well as captured more intimate, personal stories. In this showcase, the photographers offer a behind the scenes account of the images that helped define the year.

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There are just too many bodies. Hundreds of dead have washed ashore on Japan’s devastated northeast coast since last week’s earthquake and tsunami. Others were dug out of the debris Monday by firefighters using pickaxes and chain saws.

Funeral homes and crematoriums are overwhelmed, and officials have run out of body bags and coffins.

Compounding the disaster, water levels dropped precipitously inside a Japanese nuclear reactor, twice leaving the uranium fuel rods completely exposed and raising the threat of a meltdown, hours after a hydrogen explosion tore through the building housing a different reactor.

On the economic front, Japan’s stock market plunged over the likelihood of huge losses by Japanese industries including big names such as Toyota and Honda.

While the official death toll rose to nearly 1,900, the discovery of the washed-up bodies and other reports of deaths suggest the true number is much higher. In Miyagi, the police chief has estimated 10,000 deaths in his province alone.

Miyagi prefecture bore the full force of Friday’s tsunami, and police said 1,000 bodies were found scattered across its coast. The Kyodo news agency reported that 2,000 bodies washed up on two shorelines in Miyagi. (AP)

Some photos in this collection contain graphic images of death and destruction including some dead bodies.

 Japan Earthquake

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The debris of the destroyed Natori neighborhood of Sendai, Japan, on Sunday, March 13, 2011, that was hit hard by the tsunami in the aftermath of an 8.9 earthquake. Fires continue to burn in the neighborhood as civil servants are finally able to enter the area to search for victims. (Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times/MCT)

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Parents look at the body of their daughter they found in a courtesy vehicle of a driving school that's smashed by a tsunami at Yamamoto, northeastern Japan, on Sunday March 13, 2011, two days after a giant earthquake and tsunami struck the country's northeastern coast. (AP Photo/Kyodo News)

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A ship washed away by tsunami sits amid debris in Kesennuma, Miyagi prefecture, Sunday, March 13, 2011 after Japan's biggest recorded earthquake hit its eastern coast Friday. (AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye)

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A burnt ship floats in the sea in Kesennuma, Miyagi prefecture, Sunday, March 13, 2011 after Japan's biggest recorded earthquake hit its eastern coast Friday. (AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye)

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Smoke rises from a coastal area in Ishimaki, Miyagi prefecture, northern Japan, Sunday, March 13, 2011, two days after a powerful earthquake-triggered tsunami hit Japan's east coast. (AP Photo/Kyodo News)

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Smoke rise from an oil refinery on fire following a tsunami triggered by a strong earthquake in Tagajo, Miyagi Prefecture, northern Japan, Sunday, March 13, 2011. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

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An SOS sign is written on the ground of Shizugawa High School in Minamisanrikucho in Miyagi Prefecture (state), northern Japan, Sunday, March 13, 2011, two days after the powerful earthquake and tsunami hit the area. (AP Photo/Kyodo News, Junichi Sasaki)

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Rescue workers carry an elderly man found alive by tsunami survivors buried under rubble along a slope of a hill in Minamisanrikucho in Miyagi Prefecture (state) Monday, March 14, 2011, three days after a powerful earthquake-triggered tsunami hit the country's northeast coast. (AP Photo/The Yomiuri Shimbun, Hiroaki Ohno)

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A ferry stranded on a building is seen in Otsuchi, Iwate Prefecture, northern Japan, Sunday, March 13, 2011, two days after a powerful earthquake-triggered tsunami hit the country's east coast. (AP Photo/The Yomiuri Shimbun)

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Patients at a hospital wait to be evacuated without medicine and electricity in Otsuchi in Iwate Prefecture (state) Sunday, March 13, 2011, two days after a strong earthquake and tsunami hit northeastern Japan. (AP Photo/The Yomiuri Shimbun, Yasuhiro Takami)

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A young evacuee looks on at an evacuation center in Kawamata, Fukushima prefecture, northern Japan, Sunday, March 13, 2011. Japan's nuclear crisis intensified Sunday as authorities raced to combat the threat of multiple reactor meltdowns and more than 170,000 people evacuated the quake- and tsunami-savaged northeastern coast where fears spread over possible radioactive contamination. (AP Photo/Kyodo News)

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Rescue workers carry an elderly man found alive by tsunami survivors buried under rubble along a slope of a hill in Minamisanrikucho in Miyagi Prefecture Monday, March 14, 2011, three days after a powerful earthquake-triggered tsunami hit the country's east coast. (AP Photo/The Yomiuri Shimbun, Hiroaki Ohno)

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People walk on a tsunami-affected street in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, northern Japan, Sunday March 13, 2011, two days after a powerful earthquake-triggered tsunami hit the country's east coast. (AP Photo/Kyodo News)

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In this photo released by the Japanese Defense Agency, Hiromitsu Shinkawa, right, waves to rescuers before being rescued to a Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer on Sunday March 13, 2011. When spotted, the 60-year-old man was floating off the coast of Fukushima's Futaba town on the roof of his house after being swept away in a tsunami. He was in good condition. (AP Photo/Defense Ministry)

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Soldiers of Japan Self Defense Forces rescue a tsunami victim from a flooded area in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, Sunday, March 13, 2011. (AP Photo/Kyodo News)

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A woman cries as she looks for her missing husband in Minamisanriku town, Miyagi prefecture, northern Japan, Sunday, March 13, 2011, two days after a powerful earthquake-triggered tsunami hit the country's east coast. (AP Photo/Kyodo News)

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A vessel sits on the rubble in Ofunato, Iwate Prefecture, northern Japan, Sunday, March 13, 2011, two days after a powerful earthquake-triggered tsunami hit Japan's east coast. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)

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A dead woman lies under a blanket near the stairs of her destroyed home in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, northeastern Japan, on Sunday, March 13, 2011 after Japan's biggest recorded earthquake hit its eastern coast Friday. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)

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A body, covered in a blanket, lies in the rubble of a destroyed neighborhood as police officers search the area in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, northeastern Japan, on Sunday, March 13, 2011. Japan's biggest recorded earthquake hit its eastern coast Friday. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)

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Smoke billows from fires raging at the port in Tagajo, Miyagi prefecture on March 13, 2011 following a massive earthquake and tsunami on March 11. Japan battled a feared meltdown of two reactors at a quake-hit nuclear plant, as the full horror of the disaster emerged on the ravaged northeast coast where more than 10,000 were feared dead. An explosion at the ageing Fukushima No. 1 atomic plant blew apart the building housing one of its reactors on March 12, a day after the biggest quake ever recorded in Japan unleashed a monster 10-metre (33-foot) tsunami. (KIM JAE-HWAN/AFP/Getty Images)

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The debris of the destroyed Natori neighborhood of Sendai, Japan, on Sunday, March 13, 2011, that was hit hard by the tsunami in the aftermath of an 8.9 earthquake. (Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times/MCT)

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In the town of Fukushima, Japan, two hours drive south of Sendai, there is an ongoing nuclear threat after the 8.9 earthquake damaged the nearby reactor. Mari Kano, 33, holds her young son's hand as she and her two children flee their home in Fukushima on Sunday, March 13, 2011. "I'm very worried for my children. We are running away now to stay with my parents," Kano said. (Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times/MCT)

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A family looks over what is left of their destroyed home in the Natori neighborhood of Sendai, Japan, on Sunday, March 13, 2011, which was hit hard by the tsunami in the aftermath of an 8.9 earthquake. (Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times/MCT)

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Men walk down a muddy road in the darkness of the destroyed Natori neighborhood of Sendai, Japan, on Sunday, March 13, 2011, that was hit hard by the tsunami in the aftermath of an 8.9 earthquake. (Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times/MCT)

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The debris of the destroyed Natori neighborhood of Sendai, Japan, on Sunday, March 13, 2011, that was hit hard by the tsunami in the aftermath of an 8.9 earthquake. Fires continue to burn in the neighborhood as civil servants are finally able to enter the area to search for victims. (Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times/MCT)

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Workers move the body of a dead woman found in the Natori neighborhood of Sendai, Japan, on Sunday, March 13, 2011, that was hit hard by the tsunami in the aftermath of an 8.9 earthquake. Fires continue to burn in the neighborhood as civil servants are finally able to enter the area to search for victims. (Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times/MCT)

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Japanese soldiers patrol in the Natori neighborhood of Sendai, Japan, on Sunday, March 13, 2011, which was hit hard by the tsunami in the aftermath of an 8.9 earthquake. (Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times/MCT)

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A man wanders through the debris of the destroyed Natori neighborhood of Sendai, Japan, on Sunday, March 13, 2011, that was hit hard by the tsunami in the aftermath of an 8.9 earthquake. (Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times/MCT)

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Men stand guard at an evacuation center, keeping warm by a fire, in the Natori neighborhood of Sendai, Japan, on Sunday, March 13, 2011, that was hit hard by the tsunami in the aftermath of an 8.9 earthquake. (Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times/MCT)

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The rubble caused by an earthquake and tsunami fill the landscape in Yamada, Iwate Prefecture, Japan, Monday, March 14, 2011, three days after northeastern coastal towns were devastated by an earthquake and tsunami. (AP Photo/Kyodo News)

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Rescuers searches for the victims of Friday's tsunami at Noda village, Iwate Prefecture, northern Japan, Monday, March 14, 2011, three days after a massive earthquake and the ensuing tsunami hit the country's east coast. (AP Photo/Kyodo News)

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A Japan Self-Defense Force member reacts after rescuing a four-month-old baby girl in Ishinomaki, northern Japan, Monday, March 14, 2011, three days after a powerful earthquake-triggered tsunami hit the country's east coast. (AP Photo/The Yomiuri Shimbun, Hiroto Sekiguchi)

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A man cycles by a ship at Hachinohe, Aomori Prefecture, northern Japan, Monday, March 14, 2011, three days after a powerful earthquake-triggered tsunami hit Japan's east coast. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)

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Upon hearing another tsunami warning, a father tries to flee for safety with his just reunited four-month-old baby girl who was spotted by Japan's Self-Defense Force member in the rubble of tsunami-torn Ishinomaki Monday, March 14, 2011, three days after a powerful earthquake-triggered tsunami hit northeast Japan. (AP Photo/The Yomiuri Shimbun, Hiroto Sekiguchi)

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Japanese rescue team members carry the body of a man from the village of Saito, in northeastern Japan, Monday, March 14, 2011. Rescue workers used chain saws and hand picks Monday to dig out bodies in Japan's devastated coastal towns, as Asia's richest nation faced a mounting humanitarian, nuclear and economic crisis in the aftermath of a massive earthquake and tsunami that likely killed thousands. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)

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People walk a road between the rubble of destroyed buildings in Minamisanriku town, Miyagi Prefecture, northern Japan, Monday, March 14, 2011, three days after a powerful earthquake-triggered tsunami hit the country's east coast. (AP Photo/The Yomiuri Shimbun, Tsuyoshi Matsumoto)

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People walk on a railway track of Japan Railway's Ofunato Line to evacuate due to the roads are cut or buried in Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture, Monday March 14, 2011, three days after northeastern coastal towns were devastated by an earthquake and tsunami. (AP Photo/Kyodo News)

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Houses and infrastructures devastated by a strong earthquake and tsunami are seen in Otsuchi, Iwate Prefecture, Monday March 14, 2011, three days after northeastern coastal towns were devastated by the earthquake and tsunami. (AP Photo/Kyodo News)

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Rescue members seek survivors in Rikuzentakata, northern Japan, Monday, March 14, 2011, three days after a powerful earthquake-triggered tsunami hit the country's east coast. (AP Photo/The Yomiuri Shimbun, Masamine Kawaguchi)

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Evacuees gather around the candlelight at a blacked out shelter Monday, March 14, 2011, in Yamamoto, Miyagi Prefecture, northern Japan, Monday, March 14, 2011, three days after northeastern coastal towns were devastated by an earthquake and tsunami. (AP Photo/Kyodo News)

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A tsunami survivor sits down in the rubble in Yamadamachi in Iwate Prefecture Monday, March 14, 2011, three days after a powerful earthquake-triggered tsunami hit the country's east coast. (AP Photo/The Yomiuri Shimbun, Takashi Ozaki)

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A survivor of the tsunami that swept through his village of Saito, in northeastern Japan, retells the story to a rescue team that arrived to search the area Monday, March 14, 2011. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)

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A cow and debris is scattered at the site of the destroyed village of Saito, in northeastern Japan, Monday, March 14, 2011. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)

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A Japanese rescue team member walks through the completely leveled village of Saito in northeastern Japan Monday, March 14, 2011. Rescue workers used chain saws and hand picks Monday to dig out bodies in Japan's devastated coastal towns, as Asia's richest nation faced a mounting humanitarian, nuclear and economic crisis in the aftermath of a massive earthquake and tsunami that likely killed thousands. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)

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Evacuees hug each other as they confirm each other's safety at a makeshift shelter in Otsuchicho town, northern Japan, Monday, March 14, 2011, three days after the earthquake hit the country's east coast. (AP Photo/The Yomiuri Shimbun, Yasuhiro Takami)

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Local people search their destroyed houses in Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture, northern Japan, Monday, March 14, 2011, three days after northeastern coastal towns were devastated by an earthquake and tsunami. (AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye)

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A girl's shoe sits in flood debris Monday, March 14, 2011, in the coastal area of Soma city, Fukushima prefecture, Japan, three days after a massive earthquake and tsunami struck the country's northeast coast. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)

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Firefighters search for victims Monday, March 14, 2011, in Soma city, Fukushima prefecture, Japan, three days after a massive earthquake and tsunami struck the country's north east coast. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)

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A resident wipes tears as she finds no remains of her home, Monday, March 14, 2011, in Soma city, Fukushima prefecture, Japan, three days after a massive earthquake and tsunami struck the country's north east coast. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)

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Tsunami survivor Atsushi Shishido, 30, sits where tsunami waters destroyed homes and killed neighbors though he rescued his 87-year-old grandmother in Friday's massive earthquake, Monday, March 14, 2011, in the coastal region of Soma city, Fukushima prefecture, Japan. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)

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A resident of the seaside town of Toyoma, northern Japan, clears debris from the remains of the resident's home Monday, March 14, 2011, three days after a giant quake and tsunami struck the country's northeastern coast. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

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A photo hangs from the remains of a house in the seaside town of Toyoma, northern Japan, Monday, March 14, 2011, three days after a giant quake and tsunami struck the country's northeastern coast. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

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A resident of the seaside town of Toyoma, northern Japan, wipes her eyes as she takes a break from clearing debris from her home Monday, March 14, 2011, three days after a giant quake and tsunami struck the country's northeastern coast. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

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This satellite image provided by DigitalGlobe shows the damaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear facility in Japan on Monday, March 14, 2011. Authorities are strugging to prevent the catastrophic release of radiation in the area devastated by a tsunami. (AP Photo/DigitalGlobe)

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This aerial view taken on March 14, 2011 during an AFP-chartered flight shows cars burnt out by fires triggered by the tsunami lined up near Sendai in Miyagi prefecture three days after a massive 8.9 magnitude earthquake and tsunami devastated the coast of eastern Japan. A new explosion at a nuclear plant in nearby Fukushima prefecture hit punch-drunk Japan on March 14 as it raced to avert a reactor meltdown after a quake-tsunami disaster that is feared to have killed more than 10,000 people. (NOBORU HASHIMOTO/AFP/Getty Images)

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A woman reacts amidst debris caused by Friday's massive earthquake and the ensuing tsunami, in Natori, northern Japan Sunday, March 13, 2011. (AP Photo/Asahi Shimbun, Toshiyuki Tsunenari)

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This aerial view taken on March 14, 2011 during an AFP-chartered flight shows an area destroyed by the tsunami in Sendai in Miyagi prefecture three days after a massive 8.9 magnitude earthquake and tsunami devastated the coast of eastern Japan. A new explosion at a nuclear plant in nearby Fukushima prefecture hit punch-drunk Japan on March 14 as it raced to avert a reactor meltdown after a quake-tsunami disaster that is feared to have killed more than 10,000 people. (NOBORU HASHIMOTO/AFP/Getty Images)

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A man comforts a woman as she cries in front of her damaged home in the town of Watari in Miyagi prefecture on March 14, 2011 three days after a massive 8.9 magnitude earthquake and tsunami devastated the coast of eastern Japan. A new explosion at a nuclear plant in nearby Fukushima prefecture hit punch-drunk Japan on March 14 as it raced to avert a reactor meltdown after a quake-tsunami disaster that is feared to have killed more than 10,000 people. (JIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images)

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Natori city firefighters patrol the streets of the town once populated with hundreds of homes, now reduced to several dozens in Natori, Japan, Monday, March 14, 2011. (Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times/MCT)

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A Japanese woman looks over notes left by survivors at Natori city hall where victim assistance has been set up in Natori, Japan, Monday, March 14, 2011. Hundreds of thousands of Japanese have been displaced as a result of the 8.9 earthquake last week. (Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times/MCT)

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Norika Otoloague, 41, right, and her daughter Yui, assess the damage done to the neighborhood in Sendai, Japan, Monday, March 14, 2011. (Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times/MCT)

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Ruins from the powerful earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan can be seen in the Sendai neighborhood, Monday, March 14, 2011. (Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times/MCT)

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A spoiled photo album lies in the mud near the home of the Otomo family in Sendai, Japan, Monday, March 14, 2011. (Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times/MCT)

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The vast devastation wrought by the earthquake and resulting tsunami that hit Japan on March 11, 2011, may only be matched by the destroyed lives left in their wake. Few survivors have been found, but families continue to search for their sons, daughters, wives, husbands and friends. Threats of a nuclear reactor meltdown and resulting disaster loom. -- Paula Nelson (51 photos total)
The rubble caused by an earthquake and tsunami fill the landscape in Yamada, Iwate Prefecture, Japan, Monday, March 14, 2011, three days after northeastern coastal towns were devastated by an earthquake and tsunami. (Associated Press/Kyodo News)

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