Japan Earthquake, Tsunami and Nuclear Crisis

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  • by Anup Shah
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  1. Introduction
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The earthquake off the coast of Japan on March 11, 2011 was one of the biggest recorded, measuring 9 on the richter scale.

It was the resulting tsunami, however, that caused the most destruction. It devastated the northeast of Japan, leaving many thousands dead or missing, and hundreds of thousands homeless or evacuated from the area.

In addition, various power generators failed. Some older nuclear power stations risked meltdown and suffered explosions and radioactive leaks. Workers have battled for weeks to try and bring the situation under control. Radioactive material has been detected in various places.

Earthquake and tsunami damage to the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant in Japan. Source

It is thought that the cost of the earthquake and tsunami could be over $300 billion — the world’s most expensive natural disaster on record.

An aerial view of damage to northern Honshu (top) and Minato (bottom), Japan, a week after a 9.0 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami devastated the area. Sources: top, bottom

There are global economic repercussions as well, given Japan’s key position in the world economy.

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More information

There are so many issues that this tragic event has caused that I can’t cover them on my own. However, below are a list of stories from Inter Press Service as they cover this event and its aftermath:

  1. Japan Should Lead Charge for Equitable Access to COVID-19 Vaccines

    JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, Nov 20 (IPS) - Japan should step up and play a role as a global facilitator for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, Dr Daisaku Higashi said at a recent Japan Parliamentarians Federation for Population (JPFP) study meeting.

  2. India and Japan’s MPs Act Quickly to Implement Sexual and Reproductive Health Plans after ICPD25

    MBABANE, Jan 10 (IPS) - Parliamentarians from India and Japan have hit the ground running by acting soon after the recent Nairobi Summit on International Conference on Population Development (ICPD25).

  3. Japan’s Gender Gap

    CHICAGO, Illinois, Mar 27 (IPS) - KAZUO YAMAGUCHI is the Ralph Lewis Professor of Sociology at the University of Chicago*.

    Japan is not making progress in gender equality, at least relative to the rest of the world. Despite the Japanese government's attempts in recent years to pass legislation promoting the economic activity of women, Japan ranked a miserable 110 out of 149 in the World Economic Forum's 2018 Gender Gap Indexwhich benchmarks countries on their progress toward gender parity across four major areas.

  4. Eight Years on, Fukushima Still Poses Health Risks for Children

    NEW YORK, Mar 07 (IPS) - Akio Matsumura* is Founder of the Global Forum of Spiritual and Parliamentary Leaders on Human Survival.

    On March 11, we commemorate the 8th anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. To an outside observer, this anniversary passes as a technical progress report, a look at new robot, or a short story on how lives there are slowly returning to normal.

  5. Blue Economy: The New Frontier for Africa's Growth & How Japan Can Help

    NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 08 (IPS) - An interview with Siddharth Chatterjee UN Resident Coordinator to Kenya by Nikkei Shimbun, Japan and reproduced by IPS.

  6. Solving Japan’s Fertility Crisis

    UNITED NATIONS, Apr 02 (IPS) - While much of the global discussion for decades has been focused on overpopulation and its consequences, less can be said of the risks of low fertility and an ageing population—risks that are currently threatening the future of Japan.

  7. Japan and South Africa Try to Block Proposed Ban on Domestic Ivory Trade

    HONOLULU, Hawaii, Sep 08 (IPS) - Japan and South Africa have ignited a furore at a major conservation congress by coming out against a proposed appeal to all governments to ban domestic trade in elephant ivory.

  8. Protests Greet Japan's Relaunch of Nuke Power

    NEW YORK, Aug 10 (IPS) - Protesters rallied outside Japan's Sendai nuclear plant a day ahead of its planned opening and four years after the Fukushima disaster galvanised opposition to nuclear power in the country.

  9. OPINION: Japan Remains Committed to ‘Advancing Vibrant Diplomacy’

    TOKYO, Jul 14 (IPS) - In recent years, Japan has found itself it in a rapidly changing security environment. The global balance of power has shifted and various new threats have emerged within the region, including the development of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile systems that may soon be capable of delivering them.

  10. Is Japan’s Peace Constitution Dead?

    WASHINGTON, Jul 07 (IPS) - Japan has functioned under its "peace constitution" for nearly 70 years. The distinctive Article 9, which prevents the country from conducting war as a means of resolving international conflict, is showing its age.

  11. Q&A: “Fukushima Accident Still Ongoing After Three Years”

    RIO DE JANEIRO, Jun 20 (IPS) - It has been three years since the nuclear accident in Fukushima, Japan. But the consequences are still ongoing due to continuous leaks of radioactivity into the environment, says independent nuclear energy consultant Mycle Schneider.

  12. Climate Legislation Up Against ‘Abenomics’ in Japan

    TOKYO, Jun 02 (IPS) - Undaunted by Japan's national consensus to boost the economy, which has been mired in lackluster growth for decades, environmentalists are taking baby steps towards incorporating climate change into national legislation.

  13. Japan Seeks Foreign Workers, Uneasily

    TOKYO, Apr 23 (IPS) - Desperate for more workers to support a construction boom, Japan has proposed to expand its controversial foreign trainee programme to permit more unskilled labour from Asia to work in Japanese companies for five years from the current three years.

  14. Protesters Resist an ‘Indian Fukushima’

    NEW DELHI, Feb 01 (IPS) - Activists opposed to India's plans to massively increase civilian nuclear power production are aghast that a plan for an Indo-Japanese nuclear cooperation deal is gaining pace even while Japan is struggling to cope with the fallout of the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

  15. Japan Cuts Some Distance From Its Military Days

    MANILA, Jan 18 (IPS) - In a move that promises to further raise geopolitical tensions in the region, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made a high-profile visit to the Yasukuni Shrine associated with 14 Class-A war criminals and dedicated to 2.5 million soldiers from the Japanese Imperial era.

  16. Japan Bails Out on CO2 Emissions Target

    WARSAW, Nov 15 (IPS) - Japan announced Friday that it will renege on its carbon emissions pledge, likely ending any hope global warming can be kept to 2.0 degrees C.

  17. Not Fukushima Again

    TOKYO, Oct 15 (IPS) - Two and a half years ago, Ayako Oga, now 30, found herself helpless as an earthquake and the tsunami it triggered hit Japan and crippled four reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. She and her husband were forced to abandon their village Ookuma Machi, barely five kilometres away.

  18. Fukushima Fallout Hits Farmers

    TOKYO, Jul 30 (IPS) - Life for Yoshihiro Watanabe and his wife Mutsuko, mushroom and rice farmers from Fukushima, has changed drastically since the disastrous meltdowns in the Dai Ichi nuclear plant that was hit by a massive tsunami after a 9.0 strong earthquake struck on Mar. 11, 2011.

  19. Japan’s Uneven Conservation Efforts

    TOKYO, Jul 18 (IPS) - Efforts to protect the critically endangered Iriomote wildcat, a spotted, shy, feral creature native to the tiny Iriomote Island that forms part of the Okinawa Prefecture in southern Japan, are becoming a highly respected model of conservation here, where the government's uneven track record in protecting imperiled species has frustrated wildlife activists for decades.

  20. Agriculture Leans on Japanese Women

    TOKYO, Jun 26 (IPS) - Yukako Harada, an energetic 29-year-old, is part of a small but determined band of women farmers working hard to revitalise Japan's moribund agricultural sector, which is feeling the crunch of an ageing population and a flood of cheap imports.

  21. Japan Seeks to Remake Asia-Africa Relationship

    YOKOHAMA, Japan, Jun 04 (IPS) - Acutely aware of China's strong presence in resource-rich Africa, Japan, the world's third largest economy, is beefing up its relations with the continent. Participants at a high-level donor conference hosted by Japan this week stressed the need for closer engagement, not through the traditional grants and assistance loans that have hitherto defined the relationship, but rather through trade and investment led by the Japanese private sector.

  22. Japan’s Aid Programme Takes a Selfish Turn

    TOKYO, May 01 (IPS) - As Japan slips from its former top spot as the world's biggest donor, experts here are worried about long-term changes in the country's development assistance programme, which has played a crucial role in global poverty reduction efforts.

  23. Stories Sprout like Warnings in Japan's Tsunami Wasteland

    MINAMISANRIKU, Japan, Mar 19 (IPS) - As a survivor of Japan's deadliest tsunami in living memory, Shun Ito dedicates his mornings to evoking stories of heroism that helped to save lives in this port town that was decimated on that fateful March afternoon two years ago.

  24. Public Pays for Fukushima While Nuclear Industry Profits

    UXBRIDGE, Canada, Mar 12 (IPS) - Two years after Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, the country faces 100 to 250 billion dollars in cleanup and compensation costs, tens of thousands of displaced people and widespread impacts of radiation.

  25. Fukushima Running Out of Workers

    TOKYO, Mar 11 (IPS) - Japan has promised to scrap the crippled Fukushima nuclear reactors that faced the world's worst nuclear accident. But Hiroyuki Watanabe, councillor in Iwaki City located 30 kilometres from the accident site, greets such intentions on the second anniversary of the disaster on Monday with misgiving.

  26. ‘Every Day Is a Fukushima Memorial’

    TOKYO, Mar 10 (IPS) - Japan prepares to mark the second anniversary of the Mar. 11 triple disaster - an earthquake, tsunami and a critical nuclear reactor accident - with much soul searching across the country.

  27. Japanese Learn to Mind Their Business for Others

    TOKYO, Mar 02 (IPS) - After two decades of economic stagnation and serial natural disasters, a growing number of young Japanese believe social entrepreneurship is the best way to rebuild their society.

  28. Japan Values Women Less – As It Needs Them More

    TOKYO, Jan 31 (IPS) - Despite anti-discrimination laws and a steadily growing number of employed women, Japan is falling behind the rest of the world on gender equality. Widespread discrimination persists, and has only grown more subtle over the past years.

  29. Women and Activists Lament Japan’s Election Outcome

    TOKYO, Dic 18 (IPS) - The return to power of Japan's conservative and hard-line Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) on Sunday indicates that voters traded urgently needed social and environmental reforms for traditional male-led leadership, according to analysts here.

  30. Longer Lives, Lower Incomes for Japanese Women

    TOKYO, Dic 10 (IPS) - When Hiroko Taguchi retired this past April, at the age of 64, from her job as an insurance sales agent, she joined the rapidly growing ranks of Japan's aging women who now outnumber their male counterparts.

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  • by Anup Shah
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