People form the words 'No Nukes'

Photo: Buddhika Weerasinghe/Getty Images

Japan struggles to regain its feet

Anti-nuclear activists form a "No Nukes" sign with their bodies in Kobe, Japan, marking the second anniversary of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that displaced more than 30,000 and left more than 19,000 dead or missing.

The 9.0-magnitude earthquake triggered a major tsunami that swept away entire villages and critically damaged the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, causing reactors to melt down and release radiation into the surrounding towns.

Two years later, Japan is still grappling with recovery and rebuilding efforts. Survivors who lived in the disaster zones or near the power plant fled their homes and have since remained in temporary housing.

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Woman lights a candle at a tsunami anniversary vigil

Photo: Athit Parawongmetha/Getty Images

Candlelight vigils

Students and volunteers gather and light candles on March 10 at Yuriage Junior High School in Natori, Japan, during a ceremony to commemorate the anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami disaster.

Hundreds of displaced families filed a lawsuit this week against the government and the defunct power plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., to compensate for financial and emotional losses. It's estimated that it could take at least a decade for all the displaced survivors to be resettled.

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Protest sign reads 'No Nukes'

Photo: Yoshikazu Tsuno/Getty Images

Anti-nuclear protests

A protester holds a placard during an anti-nuclear rally on March 10 in Tokyo.

As politicians struggle to come up with a new energy strategy, waves of anti-nuclear rallies were held across Japan on the eve of the second anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami.

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Workers in anti-radiation suits bow their heads in respect

Photo: Yoshikazu Tsuno/Getty Images

Moment of silence

Police officers in radiation protection suits bow their heads in prayer on March 11 for the tsunami victims of Namie, a village near the striken TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

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Catie Leary ( @catieleary ) writes about science, travel, animals and the arts.