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Japanese survivors take refuge inside a makeshift shelter at a school gym after their homes have been destroyed by the earthquake and tsunami. © Dominic Nahr/Magnum Photos 2011.



Map of Japan indicating location of Fukushima and Sendai along the eastern coast of Japan.

Map of Japan indicating location of Fukushima and Sendai along the eastern coast of Japan. [+] Click image to enlarge.


Massive tsunami waves crashing into trees and an automobile

Tsunami, from 9.0 magnitude earthquake March 2011. Photo courtesy of Warren Antiola  路上写真家
[+] Click image to enlarge.

At least 15,703 fatalities
5,314 people injured
130,927 people displaced

Japan is located on the “Ring of Fire,” a highly seismic region around the Pacific Ocean, and is exposed to frequent earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and tsunamis. Disaster preparedness is a high priority for the Japanese government. It has been acknowledged for its orderly response to disasters, providing evacuation centers and housing. However, the March 11, 2011, earthquake resulted in a massive tsunami that hit the island too quickly for evacuation.

Three days after the tsunami, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant went into meltdown and released radiation into the atmosphere, soil, and water. Recently a Japanese citizens' movement has called for the abolition of nuclear power in Japan as the country and surrounding waters have been plagued by continued radiation contamination.

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