20/02/2012 08:39 GMT | Updated 20/02/2012 09:15 GMT

Japan Tsunami: Before And After, Almost One Year Since The Tragedy (PICTURES)

As Japan approaches its first anniversary since the devastating tsunami, the country’s clean-up effort has been making striking progress.

In this set of before and after pictures, scenes of the devastation are juxtaposed with images of the same spots, cleaned of debris and effectively reclaimed by the Japanese people.

A 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck on March 11, 2011, triggering a tsunami which killed around 19,000 people along Japan’s northeastern coast.

The surge of water knocked out power at the coastal Fukushima plant, leading to the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.

Tens of thousands have had to leave the area, and it's unclear whether some will ever be able to move back.

Volunteer and governmental organisations have worked tirelessly to restore the country, and as these pictures reveal, the results show for themselves.