Recovery has been slowed by bureaucratic wrangling in Tokyo. And the nuke industry is still dead in the water.
Japan will mark on Sunday the first anniversary of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that devastated the country's northeastern shores, left about 19,000 people dead or missing, and triggered the world's worst nuclear accident since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.
Many memorial services will be held in the northeastern prefectures hit hard by the tsunami as well as in Tokyo and elsewhere on Sunday, with a moment of silence planned across the country at 2:46 p.m., the time the magnitude-9.0 quake jolted the country exactly a year earlier.
Evacuation drills will also be held across the country to prepare for future quakes and tsunami, with some planned under the scenario in which a nuclear power plant suffers a loss of power just as Fukushima Daiichi did after tsunami waves flooded the plant a year ago.
Tokyo Electric Power Co. President Toshio Nishizawa is expected to observe a moment of silence, while the plant operator will issue an apology to the public once again for causing the country's worst nuclear accident. TEPCO Chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata will attend the Cabinet Office-sponsored memorial in Tokyo.
The quake and tsunami left more than 15,800 people dead -- most of them in the hard-hit Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures in the Tohoku region -- including about 500 whose bodies remain unidentified, while more than 3,100 people in six prefectures are still missing.
The tsunami destroyed or substantially damaged about 330,000 homes and other buildings in the hardest-hit three prefectures, but reconstruction has been slow. The approximately 160,000 evacuees from around the damaged Fukushima plant see no prospect of returning home anytime soon due to radioactive contamination in the areas.
The accident has heightened public anxieties over the safety of nuclear power, forcing other reactors in the country to remain offline once they were suspended for regular maintenance.
With the two remaining reactors in operation expected to go offline by early May, concerns are growing over whether the nation can weather surging power demand during peak times in the coming summer.