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The numbers are stunning: more than 16,000 dead; 3,300 missing; a reconstruction bill in the hundreds of billions of dollars. The coast guard still patrols Tohoku's waterways in search of bodies — now identifiable only by DNA. For survivors like Yukuhisa Ojima, progress takes place against a backdrop of unimaginable tragedy. He, like so many others, still mourns the loss of close relatives swept to their deaths on the afternoon of March 11.

After the tsunami one father
Atsushi Shibata prays for his mother who died in the March 11 tsunami in the devastated town of Rikuzentakata in Iwate prefecture on May 1, 2011. (Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images)

Video: After tsunami, one father's struggle

Yukuhisa Ojima lost his entire family. "I'll live for the family that I've lost, and live a life without regrets," he said.