News / Asia

One Week After Disaster Japan Ponders Future

Local residents wait for a ship to travel to a nearby island from the devastated city of Kesennuma, northeastern Japan, just one week after a massive earthquake and resulting tsunami, March 18, 2011
Local residents wait for a ship to travel to a nearby island from the devastated city of Kesennuma, northeastern Japan, just one week after a massive earthquake and resulting tsunami, March 18, 2011
Martyn Williams

It's been a week since a massive earthquake and tsunami devastated a large part of eastern Japan killing at least 6,548 people. While much of the attention remains focused on the crippled Fukushima number one nuclear plant, Japan's government has also begun looking at what comes next.

At 2:46 p.m. March 18, the disaster-hit north of Japan paused. Survivors bowed their heads and rescue work stopped for just one minute.

Japan marked the one-week anniversary of the combined earthquake and tsunami disaster with a grim statistic: the death toll passed that of 1995's earthquake in Kobe and it's likely to keep rising with more than 9,000 unaccounted for.

Many displaced

The disaster displaced some 380,000 people, who are currently living in over 2,000 shelters.

Friday Yoshihiro Murai, the governor of hard-hit Miyagi prefecture, suggested they might move to other parts of Japan.

Murai says there are 220,000 people homeless in his prefecture, and the local government will not be able to provide temporary housing for them any time soon. He says he will ask survivors to consider moving so they can enjoy better living conditions.

A survivor walks through debris in Rikuzentakata, Iwate prefecture, where the earthquake and tsunami hit last week, March 18, 2011
A survivor walks through debris in Rikuzentakata, Iwate prefecture, where the earthquake and tsunami hit last week, March 18, 2011
Japan's central government said it is also considering relocating people from the disaster-hit region.

Aid continues to roll into the area, but damage to infrastructure is making distribution difficult. Life remains tough for the displaced, with complaints about shortages of food, water and gasoline.

But, day by day, more roads are being reopened allowing trucks of relief goods to reach most victims. However, some communities remain cut off.

Reassurance


On Friday evening, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan spoke of the hardships in an address to the nation.

Kan said he understands people in shelters are cold and don't have enough food, but the government is doing all it can. He said he hopes to return a sense of security to them soon.

You May Like

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan

Ninety percent of world’s heroin comes from Afghanistan More

Here's Your Chance to Live in a Deserted Shopping Mall

About one-third of the 1200 enclosed malls in the US are dead or dying. Here's what's being done with them. More

Video NASA: Big Antarctica Ice Shelf Is Disintegrating

US space agency’s new study indicates Larsen B shelf could break up in just a few years More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs