Visitors look at paper lanterns as part of a memorial service for victims of the 2011 quake-tsunami disaster in Natori, Miyagi prefecture on March 11, 2017. / AFP / KAZUHIRO NOGI
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Japan paused Saturday to mark six years since a deadly earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster devastated a wide swathe of its northeastern coast as more than 100,000 people remain unable or unwilling to return home.The magnitude 9.0 quake, which struck under the Pacific Ocean on March 11, 2011, and the tsunami it spawned left about 18,500 people dead or missing. The quake and tsunami caused extensive damage to homes and property while radiation spread over a wide area, with more than 450,000 people evacuating in the immediate aftermath.The latest National Police Agency figures show that the total of dead or missing from the earthquake and tsunami stood at 18,446 people.Government evacuation orders for some 70 percent of the originally closed off areas will be lifted by April 1, except for certain towns near the battered facility, and authorities are encouraging evacuees to return.
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