One year ago, Japan had a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and Tsunami, which took 15854 lives and caused radioactive leakage at the nuclear power plant in Fukushima. 3155 people are still not found and over 340,000 moved out from original housing voluntary or involuntary.
First, I would like to express my sympathy to those who lost their lives and who still suffers, and my deepest appreciation to the condolences, messages and support from all over the world. Over 1 billion dollar donation, thousands of messages sent under #prayforjapan, immediate rescue assistance from many countries and the other forms of support — those activities definitely helped Japanese people both physically and mentally.
I was in Geneva on the day, so I came to know the disaster by the phone call from my family. Every news and videos showed the tragic situation and it made me feel so powerless and guilty to be away from Japan and just sitting in front of the computer screen.
During this one year, Japan has experienced many stages and events as time passed by; the solidarity expressed from overseas, and within Japan including ‘Jishuku’ movement, which everyone refrain from consumption of non-essential goods, and the countermovement in order to re-boost the economy, malfunction and distrust toward the cabinet and the change of Prime Minister, import restrictions on ‘made-in-Japan’ and electricity shortage due to the stop of nuclear plant.
Majority of Japanese people outside Tohoku area has already re-gained their ordinary life, but we still need time for the reconstruction. “3.11” was an extremely painful and complex event, but the learning from this recovery process would be an asset, not only for Japan, but also for all the countries.
I wish you would remember the day until the sun rises again.
Here are some links:
Photos: Disaster survivors express their wishes for 2012 (Mainichi Newspaper)
Photos: Situation in Tohoku just after the catastrophe (New York Times)