Posted at 11:24 AM ET, 09/12/2011

Japan earthquake and tsunami, six months later

Residents of Iwanuma, Japan, light a candle at a park during a memorial event Sunday marking six months after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. (AP)
Six months ago, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake hit Japan, triggering a tsunami whose waves curled at more than 130 feet and that caused the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl. About 20,000 people were killed or went missing in the triple disaster, and 400,000 were displaced.

Yesterday, as the United States mourned the terrorist attacks that hit the country a decade ago, Japan mourned its own loss with a moment of silence, memorial services across the country, and the release of lanterns and balloons into the air, Storyful reports.

One woman in Japan tweeted:

Watch as sky lanterns are released in Fukushima prefecture:

Watch as schoolchildren release 2,127 balloons in Miyagi prefecture:

Tokyo Electric Power Co., the company at the center of the nuclear crisis, released a set of before-and-after photos Sunday of the damaged Fukushima nuclear plants to show how far they have come. See the photos here.

But in some ways, the effects of the disaster can still be felt. On Monday, former chief cabinet secretary Yukio Edano was named Japan’s new trade minister, replacing a politician who resigned over comments about the nuclear crisis that were considered insensitive.

Also Monday, an explosion occurred at a nuclear site in southern France, leading the Associated Press to wonder whether France would engage in the same “soul-searching” about using nuclear power that “swept the world” after Japan’s disaster.

By  |  11:24 AM ET, 09/12/2011

Read what others are saying

    © 2011 The Washington Post Company