Four years now since Japan’s unprecedented triple disasters- 2/2 (CORRECTED)

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Mar 12, 2015 00:00
Continued from 1/2
Then there were the explosions of the nuclear reactors. I remember a cabinet member of the Democratic Party of Japan, the ruling party at that time, donning a brand new factory-worker-like blue uniform and repeating something like “The situation is under control,” every time he appeared on TV.

I didn't believe it. The scene of the smoke coming out of the reactor was ominous enough. It was not under control at all. The severity of the accident was later rated 7, the highest level and the same as the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

As of today, nearly 120,000 residents of Fukushima who lived near the nuclear power plant are still displaced. They now live in other areas in Fukushima or other prefectures. Some areas close to the plant are designated as exclusion zones, where people aren't allowed to live.

Currently in Japan, no nuclear power plants are in operation. There are 48 operable nuclear reactors at 16 plants across the country. As of today, four reactors at two power plants have passed more stringent safety checks. But the time they will resume operations is undecided. In a Mainichi Shimbun’s survey conducted in January, 54% of respondents said they were against operations resuming.

For a while after the disaster, we had some inconveniences in Tokyo, such as reduced operation of trains, scarcity of some foods on store shelves, limited use of electricity, and so on. But those were really minor, compared to what people in the disaster-hit areas experienced. As of today, 18,475 people have been confirmed dead or missing due to the earthquake and tsunami. And more than 3000 people have died from disaster-related causes afterwards.

Today, many people across Japan observed a moment of silence at the time when the earthquake struck. And there were a number of special programs dedicated to the fourth anniversary of the disaster.

I was unable to cover a positive side of the recovery as I prepared this entry in haste. I wanted and also felt that I needed to write something for this day.

Though the pace isn't so fast, the recovery is in progress. Please keep watching Japan.

There are some current pictures of the tsunami-hit areas and the progress of recovery on the special site, Google’s “Memory for Future” project:

Thank you for reading.
(This entry has already been corrected and revised.)

Back to 1/2:
東日本大震災から4年 パート1からの続き