Today marks the first anniversary of the great earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan on Friday, March 11, 2011 at quarter to three in the afternoon. The enormity of the disaster emerged only a few days later, only to be compounded with the failure of the Fukushima nuclear power plant and the threat of nuclear disaster that still hovers over Japan.
When I first wrote about the disaster, two days after it happened, I wrote “there is no doubt in my mind that Japan will emerge stronger from this calamity.” True, there is still a long way to go for Japan to recover, especially in the area of the future of nuclear power in this natural disaster prone country and reforms in government. But the spirit of the Japanese people and the vigour with which they took upon themselves the task of rebuilding from the rubble has not surprised me one bit.
As with many things in Japan, there is the visible side and the invisible side. The following two sets of pictures (from the Boston Globe) provide a good example of this duality. The first set is testimony to the swift and decisive recovery of the stricken areas. The second set tells the gloomier story of the “nuclear refugees” still waiting for a solution to their plight.
Recovery of Japan (click on the pictures to see the “before”)