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Japan Earthquake: Before and After

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In just over two weeks, Japan will be observing the one-year anniversary of the disastrous magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami that struck its east coast in March of 2011. The destruction was unprecedented and the loss of life and property were staggering -- more than 15,800 are confirmed dead, with another 3,300 still listed as missing nearly a year later. Photographers documented the many faces of this tragedy and have now returned to give us a look at the difference a year can make, re-shooting places that were photographed during and immediately after the quake. Collected here are 20 of these pairings. They are interactive: Starting with number 2, click the images to view a fading before/after comparison. [20 photo pairs]

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This combination of pictures shows the view of a tsunami hit area of Ofunato, Iwate prefecture on March 14, 2011 (right side) and the same scene as it appears on January 15, 2012 (left side). March 11, 2012 will mark the first anniversary of the massive tsunami that pummeled Japan. (Toshifumi Kitamura/AFP/Getty Images)
This combination of pictures shows the view of a tsunami hit area of Ofunato, Iwate prefecture on March 14, 2011 (right side) and the same scene as it appears on January 15, 2012 (left side). March 11, 2012 will mark the first anniversary of the massive tsunami that pummeled Japan. (Toshifumi Kitamura/AFP/Getty Images)
This before/after pair shows a private plane, cars and debris outside Sendai Airport in Natori, Miyagi prefecture on March 13, 2011, two days after a tsunami hit the region on March 11, 2011 and the same area on January 12, 2012 (click image to view). [click image to view transition] (Mike Clarke/AFP/Getty Images) #
Damage caused by the March 11, 2011 tsunami seen from a hill overlooking the city of Kesennuma on March 16, 2011, and the same area on January 14, 2012 (click to view). [click image to view transition] (Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images) #
A pair of photographs shows the same location in Miyako, Iwate Prefecture, northeastern Japan on two different dates, March 11, 2011, and February 17, 2012 (click to view). [click image to view transition] (Reuters/Miyako City Office and Toru Hanai) #
A pair of scenes from Miyako, Iwate Prefecture, northeastern Japan on two different dates, March 11, 2011, and February 17, 2012 (click to view). [click image to view transition] (Reuters/Miyako City Office and Toru Hanai) #
A fishing boat lies among the tsunami rubble in Otsuchi, Iwate prefecture on March 31, 2011, the same area visible on January 16, 2012 (click to view). [click image to view transition] (Toshifumi Kitamura/AFP/Getty Images) #
A boat washed on to a street by the March 11 tsunami in Ishonomaki, Miyagi prefecture on March 15, 2011, and the same area on January 13, 2012 (click to view). [click image to view transition] (Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images) #
A view of a tsunami hit area of Ofunato, Iwate prefecture on March 14, 2011, and as the scene appears on January 15, 2012 (click to view). [click image to view transition] (Toshifumi Kitamura/AFP/Getty Images) #
The scene above a fishing port in Miyako, Iwate Prefecture, northeastern Japan on two different dates, March 11, 2011, and February 17, 2012 (click to view). [click image to view transition] (Reuters/Miyako City Office and Toru Hanai) #
A tsunami strikes a fishing port in Miyako, Iwate Prefecture, northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011, the same scene visible on February 16, 2012 (click to view). [click image to view transition] (Reuters/Miyako City Office and Toru Hanai) #
A ship called Asia Sympathy, run aground by the March 11 tsunami in Kamaishi, Iwate Prefecture, on March 18, 2011, and the same area on January 16, 2012 (click to view). [click image to view transition] (Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty Images) #
Tsunami waves overflow a barrier in Miyako, Iwate Prefecture, northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011, the same scene visible on February 17, 2012 (click to view). [click image to view transition] (Reuters/Miyako City Office and Toru Hanai) #
A sightseeing boat washed ashore by the tsunami onto a two-story home in Otsuchi, Iwate prefecture on April 16, 2011, and the same area on January 16, 2012 (click to view). [click image to view transition] (Toru Yamanaka/AFP/Getty Images) #
A massive wave inundates part of Miyako, Iwate Prefecture, on March 11, 2011, and the same scene, shown on February 17, 2012 (click to view). [click image to view transition] (Reuters/Miyako City Office and Toru Hanai) #
Residents cross a bridge covered with debris in a tsunami hit area of the city of Ishinomaki in Miyagi prefecture on March 15, 2011, the same area visible on January 13, 2012 (click to view). [click image to view transition] (Kim Jae-Hwan/AFP/Getty Images) #
The tsunami breaches flood barriers in Miyako, Iwate Prefecture, on March 11, 2011, the same view seen on February 17, 2012 (click to view). [click image to view transition] (Reuters/Miyako City Office and Toru Hanai) #
The tsunami breaches flood barriers in Miyako, Iwate Prefecture, on March 11, 2011, the same view seen on February 17, 2012 (click to view). [click image to view transition] (Reuters/Miyako City Office and Toru Hanai) #
Floding in Miyako, Iwate Prefecture, on March 11, 2011, and seen later, on February 17, 2012 (click to view). [click image to view transition] (Reuters/Miyako City Office and Toru Hanai) #
A tsunami-hit street in Ofunato, Iwate prefecture, on March 14, 2011, and a year later, on January 15, 2012 (click to view). [click image to view transition] (Toshifumi Kitamura/AFP/Getty Images) #
Flooding crests on a bridge in Miyako, Iwate Prefecture, on March 11, 2011, the same scene shown on February 17, 2012 (click to view). [click image to view transition] (Reuters/Miyako City Office and Toru Hanai) #

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