TOKYO,11th March, 2016 (WAM) — Emperor Akihito, Empress Michiko, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and other participants at a national ceremony in Tokyo bowed their heads as did many residents across the affected region at 2:46pm (local time) the exact moment on March 11, 2011, the magnitude 9.0 quake struck under the Pacific Ocean.

The devastating earthquake and tsunami left 15,894 people dead and 2,561 missing, according to statements made Thursday by the National Police Agency.

“Many people are still leading uncomfortable lives in the affected areas. There are many who cannot return to their beloved homes because of the accident at the nuclear power plant,” Abe said at a memorial ceremony attended by officials and survivors in Tokyo.

WAM/Ahlam/Majok