Japan One Year Later

James Nachtwey for TIME

The water has receded. One year after Northeastern Japan was battered by a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and 130-ft. (40 m) tsunami waves, coastal villages where photographers captured haunting images of devastation now exude an eerie calm. Cars no longer dangle from the upper floors of tottering buildings. The twisted hulls of wrecked fishing trawlers have been hauled from downtown streets.

The extraordinary resilience and cohesion of Japanese society helped the nation cope with the unprecedented triple disaster--quake, tsunami, crippled nuclear reactors--that struck a year ago. At least 20,000 people died, with countless homes and livelihoods destroyed, many never to be rebuilt again....

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