keow wee loong – the fukushima aftermath
The Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami of 2011 is something the Japanese people will never forget. The disaster, known in Japan as the ‘Great East Japan Earthquake’, took the lives of over 15,000 people. It was the most powerful earthquake to have ever hit Japan, and the world’s fourth most powerful earthquake since modern records began in 1900. Incredibly, the earthquake moved Honshu (Japan’s main island) 2.4 metres east and shifted the Earth’s axis somewhere between 10cm and 25cm.
The huge 40.5 metre tsunami that followed the earthquake devastated the Sendai region, and resulted in nuclear accidents. The most infamous of these were the meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. The incidents at Fukushima occurred when electrical failings caused the reactors’ cooling system to breakdown, leading to hydrogen gas build-ups and explosions. Residents within a 20km radius were forced to evacuate their homes, and five years on this exclusion zone is still closed off to outsiders.