Japan marked on Friday the 11th anniversary of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster that devastated its northeastern region in 2011, with evacuation orders in more parts of areas contaminated by the Fukushima nuclear crisis expected to be lifted later this year.

The worst natural calamity in the country's postwar history left more than 15,000 dead after the magnitude-9.0 earthquake and ensuing tsunami caused widespread damage and triggered meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear complex.

Infrastructure in the hard-hit areas has largely been rebuilt, but some 38,000 people remain displaced mainly due to the world's worst nuclear accident since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.