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A year after devastating tsunami, Japan is still recovering

Sunday, March 11, 2012 | 9:17 p.m. CDT; updated 8:09 a.m. CDT, Monday, March 12, 2012

On March 11, 2011, the most powerful earthquake to hit Japan triggered a massive tsunami that has become the world's most expensive natural disaster.

The tsunami was over 133 feet tall and traveled about six miles inland. The death toll was more than 19,000, according to The Associated Press.

In addition to the hundreds of thousands of buildings that were destroyed, collapsed or damaged, the meltdown of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant captured the world's attention. Though the country is still in a crisis, it has received more than $1 billion in aid and the rebuilding and recovery process continues.

'Global Journalist' guests discuss lessons learned from the disaster

David Reed, who hosts the Missouri School of Journalism's "Global Journalist," interviewed Martin Fackler, The New York Times' Tokyo bureau chief, and James Acton, a senior associate with the nuclear policy program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a global think tank. The three men discussed not only what the country did wrong and did right, but the psychological effect of the nuclear meltdown.

One year later, tsunami's effects are still felt

Even though a year has passed since the deadly Japanese tsunami disaster, the effects are still unfolding, according to The New York Times. The combined disasters of earth, sea and radiation were unheard of, making the relief efforts that much harder. Though much of the country's infrastructure has been rebuilt, the recovery effort continues as towns still reel from the deaths and disappearances of friends and family.

Japan's tourism industry coming back to life

Efforts to revive Japan's tourism industry continue with promotions and bargains. The World Travel and Tourism Council in December predicted that tourism in Japan would make a "recovery by early 2012" but added that "there is still some work to be done in attracting previous levels of international visitors, particularly from long-haul markets where there may be residual nervousness regarding the nuclear situation," according to an AP article.

Japan, then and now

Minamisanriku, Japan, was once a healthy seaside town of about 19,000 people. Not only was about 95 percent of the town destroyed by the tsunami, but almost 900 of its people were killed. The town continues to rebuild economically, physically and emotionally.

Japan holds moment of silence at 2:46 p.m.

Across the country, Japan had a moment of silence to reflect on the anniversary of the country's strongest and most devastating earthquake and the disastrous tsunami. At a Tokyo memorial service, Japan's prime minister reminded his people that they had overcome such difficulty before and to continue to push forward to rebuild and recover.


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