Japan Australia Pages

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Japan Remembers March 11th Tohoku Earthquake

Image from 7News
Today, March 11th marks the first anniversary of the horrific earthquake and tsunami that devastated the coastline of north-eastern Japan. The Japanese government will hold a memorial service at the National Theatre, which faces the Imperial Palace grounds in Tokyo to mourn the disaster. At 2.46pm trains will stop, shoppers will stand still and people throughout Japan will fall silent to mark the exact moment when the 9.0 magnitude quake set off a catastrophic chain of events.

In Fukushima, tens of thousands of people are expected to gather in anti-nuclear protests, calling for the end of atomic power in the wake of the Fukushima meltdown.

The Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard also today praised the Japanese people for their courage in rebuilding their lives after the devastating earthquake and tsunami of one year ago. "This is a day of painful memories for the Japanese people and on behalf of all Australians, I express my heartfelt condolences to those who lost loved ones in this terrible tragedy," Ms Gillard said in a statement today. Ms Gillard was the first foreign leader to visit the disaster zone.

In the past year since the disaster a lot has changed. Mountains of rubble and rubbish have been cleared, Nuclear power has been debated seriously and its future in Japan is in doubt, and many questions have been raised of the current Japanese government. Unfortunately, even a year after the tragedy, parts of Japan are still trying to recover, and more than 3,000 people are still missing or unaccounted for. Damages from the earthquake and tsunami are still being assessed with estimates well into the tens of billions of dollars.

People’s habits have also changed with more people wearing flat shoes to work, and carrying water and biscuits in case of another emergency. The past year has been a spike in the purchase of bicycles and a boom in engagements and weddings. The earthquake and tsunami has been a sharp reminder that life is short and can be taken at any time.

Big cities like Tokyo and Osaka have returned almost back to normal and it is business as usual in these places, but electricity saving measures all over Japan are still in place. Things are slowing getting back to what they were with the neon lights blazing again and tourists making their way back to Japan, but not as fast as expected. Hopefully the upcoming cherry blossom season will have tourists flooding back to enjoy one of the best seasons in Japan for travel.

Image from Herald Sun

This is my submission to the March 2012 J-Festa "The 2011 Tōhoku Earthquake Anniversary"

18 comments:

  1. There are still worries from would-be visitors about Japan and radiation. :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Lina, It's hard to believe that a year has already passed. Japan is almost back to normal and the area affected by the radiation has been blocked off and is not a popular tourist destination. The rest of Japan is fine and needs tourists to visit to help boost the economy.

      Delete
  2. 1 Year on and from Natori north, still so little has been done.Basically a reasonable clean up, virtually no incineration of rubble/rubbish.Communities are in limbo living in makeshift housing.The Japanese government is dragging it's heels and can't be pushed to work together to bring some normality to every day life for thousands.The residents in the Fukushima no go zone are still wanting to know when they can go home and are living like those you see under blue tarps on the riversides of Japan or cardboard like those in Tokyo streets.I am stunned by the lack of help and respect for the living and the missing being shown by the central government in Japan.The areas in Tohoku that bore the brunt of the quake and tsunami are far from being back to normal.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Llewellyn, Yes, a lot still needs to be done especially in the area affected by the tsunami. I get the feeling the Japanese Government hasn't been seen to be doing as much as they could and it is disappointing to hear that so many people haven't been able to return to their homes in the area.

      Delete
  3. Today, I've saw a few TV special to remember people here in Japan, blessing for them especially kids who have to face so much in this disaster. It's for sure I will visit Japan again & again, a wonderful city as usual in my mind.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Antleeli, Yes, I'm was glad that here in Australia there were a few TV specials to mark the occasion and to show the public what a truly tragic event it was. Thanks for commenting and hope to see you back in Japan again in the future :)

      Delete
  4. Thanks for the summary covering the commemoration from a variety of fronts: the food problem, nuclear protests, the number of people still missing, trains stopping, etc. Excellent summary.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks StarBrooke, I'm glad I could contribute in some small way, but Japan now needs more tourists to help it heal, so I hope that many more people will visit Japan in 2012.

      Delete
  5. My sister is coming to visit me in Japan and she had trouble booking tickets for this spring. It seems cherry blossom season will be as popular with tourists as ever so that's encouraging. Little by little Japan is returning to normal. :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks Sarah, That's good to hear! Not for your sister but that more and more tourists are slowly returning to Japan :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. One of the most impressive things that rose from the floods was the upwelling of international support. Its great to see so many countires pull together and offer support and encouragement.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks MTJ, It was great to see that support and the blogging world get together to help raise awareness and support for the disaster. I was proud as an Aussie for our Prime Minister to be the first foreign leader to visit the disaster zone.

      Delete
  8. That was truly a heartbreaking day. When I was in Japan last September/October, the only difference I noticed was some neon lights were turned off. I hope Japan can one day recover emotionally from this awful event.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Lisa, It was a heartbreaking day and those images are still burnt into my mind. There has been a lot of power conservation going on in Japan and this still continues today. It will take a long time to fully recover but Japan is well on the road to recovery.

      Delete
  9. Hi JA, I think a positive thing to come out of this disaster is that the world has been able to glimpse at the amazing courage, tenacity, grace and community mindedness of the Japanese people - not at a government level, but certainly at street level where people are still living through this nightmare and only just beginning to question the efforts of those in government. I think this earthquake might have been a huge catalyst for change in Japan in more ways than one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks rObfOs, That is so true. I guess I have always known about the Japanese spirit, courage and ability to get on with things and rebuild, but it still amazes me to this day, especially after the magnitude of this disaster. I think on a social level Japan is changing and as you mentioned events like this will be a big catalyst for change. There will be exciting times ahead for Japan and I am looking forward to returning soon to witness it.

      Delete
  10. Great summary and some very thoughtful comments. (Sorry that I'm responding so late. As you know, I've been tourguiding!)

    Since the quake, my respect for Japanese people has increased exponentially. I just wish I could've said the same about its politicians ...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Rurousha, I appreciate it and it is never too late to reply. Yes, I agree with you and the people never seize to amaze me.

      Delete

Share This via Social Media

Social Media

Get widget
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...