At 2:46 p.m. Friday, millions of people observed a moment of silence across Japan as the country marked the fifth anniversary of the March 2011 quake and tsunami that devastated coastal areas of the Tohoku region, killing at least 19,304 and leaving an additional 2,561 still unaccounted for as of Thursday.

The anniversary comes as about 174,000 evacuees from disaster-hit areas are still living outside their damaged hometowns.

They include more than 43,000 from Fukushima, most of whom are believed to have fled the radioactive fallout from Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, which was wrecked by the killer tsunami.