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Japan

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Flag of Japan
Index
  1. Japan Main Page
  2. Japan Expands Its Empire
  3. Japan Tests Its Military Might
  4. Economic Recovery Is Followed by Deep Recession
  5. Succession of Prime Ministers Meet Only Fleeting Popularity
  6. Scandals Taint Leadership
  7. Liberal Democratic Party Ousted from Power
  8. Tsunami Devastates Japan
  9. Sixth Prime Minister Named in Five Years
  10. Study Finds Nuclear Reactor Damaged by Tsunami, Not Earthquake
  11. U.S. Imposes Sanctions on Japanese Organized-Crime Syndicate
  12. Japan One Year after the Tsunami, Earthquake, and Nuclear Disaster
  13. Japanese Still Divided Over Nuclear Issue
  14. Tension Increases with Asian Neighbors Over Islands
  15. Noda Wins Party Leadership Vote, but Faces Strong Opposition
  16. Shinzo Abe Becomes Prime Minister Again in Late 2012
  17. Ongoing Fukushima Leak Declared an Emergency
  18. Japan Lifts Decades Old Arms Ban
Tsunami Devastates Japan

Japan was hit by a massive earthquake on March 11, 2011, that triggered a deadly 23-foot tsunami in the country's north. The giant waves deluged cities and rural areas alike, sweeping away cars, homes, buildings, a train, and boats, leaving a path of death and devastation in its wake. Video footage showed cars racing away from surging waves. The United States Geological Survey reported the earthquake and on Monday revised its magnitude from 8.9 to 9.0, which is the largest in Japan's history. The earthquake struck about 230 miles northeast of Tokyo.

Disaster struck again on Saturday, March 12, when about 26 hours after the earthquake, an explosion in reactor No. 1 at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station caused one of the buildings to crumble to the ground. The cooling system at the reactor failed shortly after the earthquake. Officials feared that a meltdown may occur, and radioactive material was detected outside the plant. These fears were realized on Sunday, when officials said they believed that partial meltdowns occurred at reactors No. 1 and No. 3. The cooling systems at another plant, Fukushima Daini, were also compromised but the situation there seemed to be less precarious. More than 200,000 residents were evacuated from areas surrounding both facilities. Problems were later reported at two other nuclear facilities. By Tuesday, March 15, two more explosions and a fire had officials and workers at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station struggling to regain control of four reactors. The fire, which happened at reactor No. 4, was contained by noon on Tuesday, but not before the incident released radioactivity directly into the atmosphere. The Japanese government told people living within 20 miles of the Daiichi plant to stay indoors, to not use air conditioning, and to keep their windows closed. More than 100,000 people are in the area.

At a news conference on Sunday, Prime Minister Naoto Kan emphasized the gravity of the situation. "I think that the earthquake, tsunami, and the situation at our nuclear reactors makes up the worst crisis in the 65 years since the war. If the nation works together, we will overcome," he said. The government called in 100,000 troops to aid in the relief effort. The deployment is the largest since World War II.

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