Japan is remembering the nearly 19,000 people who died in a massive earthquake and tsunami two years ago.

The devastated Japanese town of Otsuchi (Toshiharu Kato/Japanese Red Cross/IFRC via Getty Images)

At a memorial service Monday in Tokyo, attendees stood in silence at 2:46 p.m., the precise moment the 9.0-magnitude quake struck off northern Japan on March 11, 2011.

The quake unleashed a towering wave that wiped out entire coastal communities, and the tsunami set off a crisis at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, causing three reactors to melt down and spew radiation.

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