Moment of silence marks 1 year since Japan quake

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A woman cries during a ceremony for victims of the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami, at Jyodoji temple in Rikuzentakata, Iwate prefecture, northeastern Japan, Sunday, March 11, 2012. With moments of silence and prayers, Japan on Sunday was remembering the massive earthquake and tsunami that struck the nation one year ago, killing just over 19,000 people and unleashing the world's worst nuclear crisis in a quarter century. (AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye)

RIKUZENTAKATA, Japan (AP) — People along Japan's tsunami-battered northeast coast and elsewhere across the country have observed a moment of silence to mark the exact time a massive earthquake struck the nation one year ago.

The magnitude-9.0 quake on March 11, 2011, triggered a terrifying tsunami that devastated the northeastern coast, killing just over 19,000 people and unleashing a nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant.

At 2:46 p.m. Sunday in the coastal town of Rikuzentakata, a siren sounded and a Buddhist priest in a purple robe rang a huge bell at a damaged temple overlooking a barren area where houses once stood.

At the same time in Tokyo's National Theater, Emperor Akihito and Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda stood in silence with hundreds of other people at a memorial service.