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Three years ago today, Japan was hit by the strongest earthquake ever measured in that country – and Fukushima became an international by-word for disaster.
Now, as Japan tries to put its past behind it, Fukushima is back in the news as hundreds of evacuees prepare to return to their homes near the crippled nuclear power plant for the first time next month. But how do any of us begin to understand a disaster that could mean 50,000 people never see their homes again?
ABC journalist Mark Willacy’s Fukushima: Japan’s Tsunami and the Inside Story of the Nuclear Meltdowns is a very good place to start.
On March 11, 2011, off the east coast of Japan’s largest island, Honshu, the sea floor heaved. In the city of Sendai water surged 10 kilometres up the valley of the Abukuma River. Sendai is the largest city in Tohoku, the northern region of Honshu, made up of six prefectures. The tsunami hit hardest in the three prefectures on the east coast: from south to north, Fukushima, Miyagi, and Iwate.