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Monday, March 11, 2013

Second Anniversary of the Tohoku Earthquake


Today is the second anniversary of the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and subsequent nuclear meltdown in the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant.

Tohoku Earthquake

Restoration work continues slowly in the areas damaged by both the massive tsunami and the nuclear contamination and it is estimated that the nuclear clean-up operation may take 40 years or more.

The strain on residents in the Fukushima area is palpable with an increase in divorce rates, as wives and children leave the area to escape the effects of radiation whereas husbands with jobs feel forced to stay and carry on.

Many people and their families have also left the areas affected by fallout, probably never to return, though a recent WHO study downplayed the risks of increased cancer rates in the region.

Residents also experience discrimination from the wider Japanese population similar to the fate of the hibakusha - the  survivors of the Nagasaki and Hiroshima atomic bombs of 1945.

Tohoku Earthquake

Despite widespread opposition to nuclear energy in Japan - opinion polls show 70% of Japanese people opposed - and continued demonstrations, such as the huge anti-nuclear rally in Hibiya Park in Tokyo yesterday, the anti-nuke movement maybe running out of steam. The pro-nuclear LDP, led by new PM Shinzo Abe, which presently also enjoys support ratings of 70%, is committed to restarting Japan's currently moth-balled reactors.

The huge Tohoku earthquake happened at 2.46pm on a Friday in 2011 and was to be Japan's largest crisis since World War II.

Look back at the events using this earthquake map and the panic buying that hit Tokyo as people feared the worst.

See a video of the aftermath of the 8.8 magnitude Tohoku earthquake as people mill around outside their offices in Tokyo.

The earthquake was the largest experienced in Japan since records began and the most costly natural disaster in history.

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