A nuclear power plant was destroyed in the resulting tsunami, with devastating effects
Today marks five years since the massive earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan, killing 18,000 people.
Hundreds of people have gathered in Tokyo today to honour those who died.
The quake, measuring 9.0 on the Richter scale, struck offshore - devastating the miles-wide region nearby.
A nuclear power plant was destroyed in the disaster.
A minute's silence was held at 2.46 local time, to mark the exact moment the disaster struck.
Experts say it could take another 40 years to remove all the nuclear fuel from the site.