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TOKYO (AP) - Amid growing dissatisfaction with the slow pace of recovery, Japan marked the second anniversary Monday of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that left nearly 19,000 people dead or missing and has displaced more than 300,000.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that the government intends to make "visible" reconstruction progress and accelerate resettlement of those left homeless by streamlining legal and administrative procedures many blame for the delays.
At observances in Tokyo and in still barren towns along the northeastern coast, those gathered bowed their heads in a moment of silence marking the moment, at 2:46 p.m. on March 11, 2011, when the magnitude 9.0 earthquake -- the strongest recorded in Japan's history -- struck off the coast.
Japan has struggled to rebuild communities and to clean up radiation from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, whose reactors melted down after its cooling systems were disabled by the tsunami. The government has yet to devise a new energy strategy -- a central issue for its struggling economy with all but two of the country's nuclear reactors offline.