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Friday, March 11, 2016

Japan Observes 5th Anniversary of Great East Japan Earthquake

Above, Godaido and Matsushima after the tsunami.

It hardly seems like five years have now passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster struck the Tohoku region of Japan. I remember getting a phone call from my supervisor telling me about the quake. I had visted Japan three months earlier and brought him a Godzilla toy.

I spent the rest of my graveyard shift that night checking news reports and chatting with friends. Having been through the Northridge Earthquake in 1994, I had empathy with those in the affected areas, but the Northridge Earthquake paled in comparison to what was happening in Japan.

In the days following, I followed the news reports on the disaster. I was particularly interested in how Matsushima Bay (near Sendai) and the Godaido Hall fared. I visited there in 2007 as it was one of the areas my father was briefly stationed during the Korean War. I was relieved to see that Godaido Hall survived the tsunami. If it weren't for the 200 tiny islets in the bay blunting the force of the tsunami, it would not have survived.

The Japan Times reported:
At 2:46 p.m. Friday, millions of people observed a moment of silence across Japan as the country marked the fifth anniversary of the March 2011 quake and tsunami that devastated coastal areas of the Tohoku region, killing at least 19,304 and leaving an additional 2,561 still unaccounted for as of Thursday. 
The anniversary comes as about 174,000 evacuees from disaster-hit areas are still living outside their damaged hometowns.
To read more, go here.

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