Japan marks 6 months since tsunami with prayers

Japan fell silent in prayer on Sunday, six months after an earthquake and tsunami left 20,000 dead or missing and sparked a nuclear crisis on its Pacific coast.

At 2:46 pm the eerie wail of warning sirens rang out, marking exactly six months since the the 9.0-magnitude quake struck offshore, unleashing towering waves which swallowed ships, sea walls, vehicles and whole communities.

In towns and villages along the devastated coast, mourners gathered to remember the dead, while anti-nuclear rallies were held in Tokyo and other cities over the Fukushima crisis – the worst nuclear accident since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

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