One year after a magnitude-9 earthquake triggered a devastating tsunami and nuclear disaster, Japan is slowly rebuilding its economy, industries and towns. Bloomberg reporters revisit many of the sites hit by the disaster to interview people they talked with a year ago, to see how they have coped and the challenges they still face.
Farmers in Japan’s Fukushima face years of additional losses as consumers continue to doubt the safety of produce from the region devastated a year ago by the tsunami and nuclear fallout, which may taint crops for decades.
As the surge of water smashed through the factory wall in northeast Japan a year ago, Takumi Tanaka held on to an air hose to stop being swept away. Four days later, he was back at the shattered auto-parts plant, groping through meter-thick mud studded with uprooted trees.
One year after Japan’s most powerful earthquake ever, the nation’s top two political parties have record-low approval ratings, signaling widespread discontent at the government’s response to the disaster.
Japan’s Emperor will lead millions of the country’s citizens in prayers and remembrances today for the more than 19,000 killed or lost in the quake and tsunami that struck at 2:46 p.m. one year ago. Some train services in Tokyo will halt temporarily as part of the memorial.
Flight engineer Tsutomu Kimura had his first look into the smoking ruins of the No. 3 reactor building when his helicopter buzzed over the Fukushima Dai-Ichi (9501) atomic plant three days after it exploded.
Chikako Abe’s desk is decorated with flowers and candy at her school in Minamisoma, a reminder of a 17-year-old life cut short a year ago. Instead of attending a graduation ceremony this month, her family will pray on March 11 at the ruins of a house where the sea snatched away the lives of Chikako, her father and two grandparents.
After years of criticism for public- works spending that rewarded political constituents at the cost of adding debt, Japan succeeded in cutting the largesse in half. Now, that legacy of success is hampering an economic rebound.
Tokyo’s preparedness for dealing with a major earthquake after last year’s record temblor in northeast Japan that left more than 19,000 dead or missing may not significantly cut deaths or damage, says Kazuchika Asano, who has studied the city’s emergency procedures for two decades.
As five-year-olds charge through the corridors of a kindergarten in northeast Japan at lunchtime, teacher Junko Kamada says she is still unsure if their food is safe a year after the Fukushima nuclear accident.
Tokyo Electric Power Co. (9501) is set to receive a government bailout that may cost as much as 11 trillion yen ($137 billion) after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the largest in Japan since the rescue of the banking industry in the 1990s.
Japan’s atomic safety rules are inferior to global standards and left the country unprepared for the Fukushima nuclear disaster last March, the country’s top nuclear regulator told a parliamentary investigation.
A Hawaiian theme park that propped up the economy of a rural Japanese town in Fukushima prefecture for 45 years was forced to close after the March 11 earthquake. Almost a year later, the hula girls have returned.
An earthquake of 9.0 magnitude struck Japan on March 11, 2011 at 2:46 p.m. local time, triggering a tsunami of up to 10 meters that engulfed large parts of northeastern Japan and damaged the Fukushima nuclear plant