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October 3, 2013
reuters:

Shortly after the mandatory evacuation was announced on television, Fumio Okubo put on his best clothes and his daughter-in-law served up his favorite dinner. By morning, the 102-year-old was dead. He had hanged himself before dawn.
A rope knitted from plastic bags is certainly not a tanto knife. Nor was his death a dramatic one, with the public in attendance and blood all around but what an old farmer did that morning recalls the act of a samurai in ancient times – to die with honor. Okubo, who was born and lived his entire life between Iitate’s rice fields and cedar trees, wanted to die in his beautiful village, here and nowhere else.
For most people on Japan’s eastern coast – at least for those survivors who lost nobody and nothing – the true horror of the powerful earthquake and tsunami it triggered was over quickly. But for many unfortunate souls in otherwise prosperous Fukushima prefecture, March 11, 2011 was just the start of what for me is one of the most heart-rending stories I have ever covered outside the misery of the developing world.

Reuters photographer Damir Sagolj has posted a series of photos and observations from his recent time in Japan, speaking with former residents from Fukushima prefecture and the surrounding areas, to see what life is like for those forced to evacuate in the wake of the 2011 tsunami and nuclear meltdown.

reuters:

Shortly after the mandatory evacuation was announced on television, Fumio Okubo put on his best clothes and his daughter-in-law served up his favorite dinner. By morning, the 102-year-old was dead. He had hanged himself before dawn.

A rope knitted from plastic bags is certainly not a tanto knife. Nor was his death a dramatic one, with the public in attendance and blood all around but what an old farmer did that morning recalls the act of a samurai in ancient times – to die with honor. Okubo, who was born and lived his entire life between Iitate’s rice fields and cedar trees, wanted to die in his beautiful village, here and nowhere else.

For most people on Japan’s eastern coast – at least for those survivors who lost nobody and nothing – the true horror of the powerful earthquake and tsunami it triggered was over quickly. But for many unfortunate souls in otherwise prosperous Fukushima prefecture, March 11, 2011 was just the start of what for me is one of the most heart-rending stories I have ever covered outside the misery of the developing world.

Reuters photographer Damir Sagolj has posted a series of photos and observations from his recent time in Japan, speaking with former residents from Fukushima prefecture and the surrounding areas, to see what life is like for those forced to evacuate in the wake of the 2011 tsunami and nuclear meltdown.

19:52 // 1 year ago
September 7, 2013
olympics:

Tokyo reacts after being elected as 2020 Olympic Games Host City.

The Olympics will return to Japan in 2020, for the first time since the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano. This time Tokyo will play host, having beat out the Turkish capitol of Istanbul in a run-off, despite concerns in recent days that the IOC would shirk Tokyo amid concerns about the ongoing (and we do stress ongoing) radioactivity leaks at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

olympics:

Tokyo reacts after being elected as 2020 Olympic Games Host City.

The Olympics will return to Japan in 2020, for the first time since the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano. This time Tokyo will play host, having beat out the Turkish capitol of Istanbul in a run-off, despite concerns in recent days that the IOC would shirk Tokyo amid concerns about the ongoing (and we do stress ongoing) radioactivity leaks at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

20:23 // 1 year ago
March 27, 2013
This is what Namie-machi, a deserted town next to the Fukushima nuclear plant, looks like these days. Google’s Street View cars were able to get a first-hand look. (via TechCrunch)

This is what Namie-machi, a deserted town next to the Fukushima nuclear plant, looks like these days. Google’s Street View cars were able to get a first-hand look(via TechCrunch)

19:36 // 1 year ago
March 10, 2013
Two years after the earthquake that defined Japan’s recent history, the cleanup is well underway. And The Atlantic’s In Focus has the before-and-after shots, down to the exact angle. (side-by-side photos by Reuters/Kyodo)

Two years after the earthquake that defined Japan’s recent history, the cleanup is well underway. And The Atlantic’s In Focus has the before-and-after shots, down to the exact angle. (side-by-side photos by Reuters/Kyodo)

19:18 // 1 year ago
March 2, 2013

WHO study finds elevated cancer risk for babies in Fukushima area

  • 4%increased lifetime relative risk of cancer for babies exposed to the highest radiation areas around Fukushima, Japan, after the 2011 tsunami that caused multiple radiation leaks at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant (according to the World Health Organization). The amount of radiation exposure varied throughout Fukushima Prefecture, with some areas as high as 12 - 25 millisieverts, but much else in the 3 - 5 range. source
19:43 // 1 year ago
September 14, 2012

Long-term plan: Japan tries weaning itself off nuclear energy

  • cause Last year’s Sendai earthquake drew a strong level of reaction from the Japanese after it (and the ensuing tsunami) caused a set of reactors at the Fukushima plant to have the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.
  • effect Japan is trying to give up on nuclear energy in the long run, giving their current reactors a 40-year lifespan and choosing not to build any others. If all works, they hope to be off nuclear energy completely by the end of the 2030s.
  • but … Motohisa Furukawa, the minister of state national policy, gave plenty of hedge room. “We have set the general direction of policy,” he said. “But we must also remain flexible, because this is a long-term policy.” source
9:21 // 2 years ago
July 1, 2012

Japan restarts first nuclear reactor since earthquake, Fukushima disaster

  • 70% of Japanese voters want to ditch nuclear power source

» But that’s not happening — at least not yet. A couple weeks back, the Japanese government agreed to let the Kansai Electric Power Co. restart two reactors at the country’s Ohi plant. On Sunday, one of those reactors started up again — and there were protests. One was 100 strong near the Ohi plant; another saw 7,000 people fill the streets of Tokyo. Most want to see the country end its dependence on nuclear power. Will public pressure make a difference here?

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11:37 // 2 years ago
March 11, 2012

Europeans reflect on the Japan tsunami with anti-nuclear protests: ”Anti-nuclear protesters took to the streets in Germany, France and Belgium to mark the one-year anniversary of Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster. Protesters called for a reduction in the reliance on nuclear energy.” (AP video)

20:46 // 2 years ago
I’ve been looking at the pictures on TV all day and still can’t believe we lived through it. There was a power cut and no heating, and I couldn’t call anyone after my baby was born because the phones were down. And we didn’t even know what was going on in the nuclear plant.
Japanese earthquake survivor Kaori Naiji • Discussing the deadly incident, which took place one year ago today. Naiji’s daughter, Wakana, was born during the earthquake, which unleashed a major tsunami on the country. Thousands spent the day mourning the lost and protesting the scene at Fukushima, which left the country on eggshells for months afterwards. What do you remember most about the period? Do you expect to see anything like it again in your lifetime?
20:28 // 2 years ago
December 5, 2011

Radioactive water leaks from Fukushima nuclear site

  • 45 metric tons of radioactive water got loose from Fukushima source

» How bad was it? The water leak was found Sunday on a device used to purify the seawater used to cool off damaged reactors. They stopped the leak by stacking sandbags against the concrete barrier surrounding the device. The water itself, authorities say, contained higher-than-usual levels of cesium 137, a radioactive substance. It’s not clear that any of this water made it to the Pacific Ocean. The reactor was greatly damaged during the March earthquake.

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11:30 // 2 years ago