Today, the somber nation of Japan marks the one-year anniversary of the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami that devastated a large area of the island nation.
The catastrophic 9.0 earthquake struck off the coast of of Japan near Tokyo on March 11, 2011. The earthquake itself panicked citizens and damaged thousands of buildings in a wide area, but it was the ensuing tsunami that created most of the devastation and loss of life. Many towns and cities were completely inundated by the massive tsunami as it rolled relentlessly across the Japanese landscape, obliterating entire towns and villages and scarring the country and its people for a lifetime.
The entire nation observed a moment of silence at the exact time the temblor struck, at 2:46PM local time. The combination of earthquake and tsunami killed at least 19,000 people and destroyed hundreds of thousands of private homes and businesses. Important infrastructure was also left devastated, and the tsunami swept over the Fukushima nuclear facility, causing the power plant to go into a full scale meltdown, with the escaping radiation poisoning a large area around the crippled plant. Japanese officials now admit that a zone around the nuclear facility will not be inhabitable for perhaps hundreds of years, due to dangerous levels of radiation. It is now considered the worst nuclear accident in world history.
Some 3,000 people are still unaccounted for in the aftermath of the tragedy, leaving countless family members without any closure to their mourning. The catastrophe also left an indelible mark on the Japanese economy, costing hundreds of trillions of yen in damage, and bringing about a mini-recession to the important industrial nation.
The people of Japan earned the admiration and respect of the entire world with their composure, discipline and resilience in the face of the overwhelming cataclysm while its companies impressed with the speed with which they bounced back, mending torn supply chains.