The National Police Agency of Japan put the total death toll at 15,894 people, while 2,561 are still missing.
Japan is still absorbing the enormity of the disaster, both physically in rebuilding, and emotionally.
"Many people are still leading uncomfortable lives in the affected areas", Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said during his 11 March memorial address in 2016. "We commit ourselves to providing care for their minds and bodies, forming new local communities and supporting industrial development of the affected areas."
Ceremonies are being held in Japan and abroad to mark the event.
©OECD Observer March 2016