(TOKYO) -- People across Japan fell silent Monday afternoon as they reflected on the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit their country exactly one month ago, leaving thousands dead and lingering fears of a nuclear meltdown.
At 2:46 p.m., sirens sounded to mark the exact time the 9.0 magnitude quake struck the country on March 11, spawning a massive tsunami afterwards that has left up to 25,000 people dead and thousands more displaced from their homes.
Dozens of aftershocks have since rocked Japan, with the latest one striking Monday, a 7.1 magnitude tremor that prompted yet another tsunami warning.
The initial quake crippled the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, leaving it on the verge of a nuclear meltdown as plant operators work around the clock to cool the damaged reactors and prevent more radiation from seeping into the environment. Radiation has already been detected in the water and soil in and around the damaged plant, as well as in tap water, milk and various vegetables.
The natural disasters have also taken a toll on Japan's economy and the auto industry.
Leading Japanese automakers, like Toyota and Honda, had been forced to shut down all vehicle production in the country following the March 11 earthquake. The halt in production compromised the availability of parts and automobiles worldwide and had an adverse effect on stock markets.
But the Japanese auto industry appears to be bouncing back. Toyota announced last week that it would resume vehicle production at all of its Japanese plants on April 18, while Honda said it would reopen two auto assembly plants in Japan Monday.
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