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Japan Tsunami - What Has The World Learned From It

Updated on December 20, 2020
rajan jolly profile image

Rajan is a botany and chemistry major. He has worked as a poultry breeder for 23 years, breeding layer and broiler parents.


About Japan Tsunami

It was on 11th March 2011, that Japan was rocked by a massive earthquake of an 8.9 magnitude, the strongest ever recorded in history, and the deadly and terrifying tsunami that followed. It left behind a trail of unseen destruction in 10 cities of Japan.

Scenes of the havoc played by the tsunami could be seen everywhere. Ships were toyed by the monstrous waves of water as if they were made of paper, vehicles floated on the raging waters. The scenes were heart-wrenching with buildings falling down as if made of sand, houses and buildings being washed away as everything was swept away in one huge flow. One wished it was a dream.

More than 20000 people were dead or unaccounted for, over 500,000 rendered homeless and the worst ever nuclear crisis at the Fukushima's Daiichi nuclear plant, with the nuclear fallout a foregone conclusion after the blasts in the reactors, warranted a declaration of a state of emergency.

The scenes of Japan tsunami as it was shown on television were enough to send shivers down the spine of the bravest of the brave. Though lots can be written about that dark day in Japan, there are some things that Japan has taught us in its hours of darkness.

In the one year between then and today, Japan has set an example to the world, by showing its fighting spirit against the biggest of challenges - the challenge to its very existence.

Aerial view of the Japan tsunami devastation


Lessons For Us From Japan Tsunami

Japan and its people have taught us some very valuable lessons. Some of which are :

  • In Times Of Crisis Do Not Forget Your Basic Character.

Japan has proved the adage, " Hope for the best but prepare for the worst", again. They were prepared, maybe, not in terms of stopping the earthquake or the tsunami that followed but in rebuilding and having faith in themselves to rebuild the fallen infrastructure and build it in record times. They have shown their fighting character once more after Hiroshima & Nagasaki.
Japan which on average experiences 1500 big and small earthquakes annually has tightened its belt to face any calamity. It has made it compulsory a study of crises management.

  • Small Stature Does Not Mean Small Steps

It is to Japan's credit that their people were not dependent on the government machinery for help once the tsunami struck. Its people knew that the massive disaster has collapsed the entire infrastructure.

So while getting up on their feet and inspite of reeling in the after-effects, they had already started work on restoring normalcy. Today, 27% of Japanese households in Tokyo have ready stock of things that are needed in times of natural calamities.

  • Remaining Composed In Adverse Situations

Japan showed exemplary discipline. Even in the aftermath of a colossal shortage of essential supplies, orderliness and discipline could be seen in people queuing up for essentials outside stores and waiting with patience for their turn.

57000 lockers containing 2.36 billion yen, bank passbooks and house registration papers were found. To their credit is the fact that 96% of these reached their rightful owners through individuals or the police.

  • No Place For Self Doubt

When the government declared and accepted their failure in providing crisis management, abuses and taunts were not hurled at it by their people.

Instead, people came forward to take charge of the situation. They removed the tonnes and tonnes of debris, made shelters, collective efforts were made to locate each others' missing family members. Community centres were established to offer support to those who had lost everything.

  • Always Be Prepared

After the massive catastrophe, tourist inflow almost came to a standstill. To revive tourism, Japan concentrated its efforts in building the shattered infrastructure on a war footing. Airport and air services were restored in record times.

As an example, the Sandai airport which is 1 km from the sea was restored in a record 199 days. The Japan Tsunami had washed away its 10 pillars and the entire lounge apart from other widespread destruction.

In August of the same year barely 5 months after this calamity of epic magnitude struck, 5,47000 tourists visited Japan.

  • Preparing Bigger Than The Biggest Calamity

Japan is gearing to counter challenge the biggest earthquake that can come. Plans are afoot to construct on the spot dams that can effectively stop the tsunami waves once the tsunami warning is delivered. Also on the anvil are plans to raise the ground level in tsunami-prone areas. Buildings will be constructed to withstand the earthquakes and tsunami of the largest magnitudes.

  • Boosting Industry Morale

Toyota sold 7900000 vehicles even though it was severely affected by the Japan tsunami. This is 24% more than the sales last year.

Shozi Tanaka, the Japanese innovator, has made a cabin which can accommodate 4 people. During a tsunami, this cabin though washed and carried away by the tsunami waves, will keep safe the occupants inside it.

  • Always Remember

Today, 11th March 2012, at 2.46 local Japanese time, time will standstill. People will observe silence at this time as it was this time last year when Japan's character and resilience were tested to the hilt.

Safety drills will also be held at various places to show the people how to save themselves and prepare for times of future exigencies.

tsunami devastation in Japan


Japan Tsunami Devastation Aerial View


Japan Tsunami Update

Over 2 years later, the marine debris from the Tsunami still continues to wash ashore the sea coast in Hawaii and along the Pacific coast of North America.

It is estimated that this disaster killed almost 19000 people in Japan and displaced over 300,000. Communities are being rebuilt and clean up of the radiation from the melted reactors of the Fukushima No 1 nuclear plant is being carried out.

Tens of thousands of those displaced are still living in temporary shelters and the recovery pace is slow. Estimates are that resettlement of these people may take almost a decade.

Kamaishi City devastation on 11th march 2011

The day After Japan Tsunami 12th march 2011

Kamaishi City After 1 year in 2012

© 2012 Rajan Singh Jolly


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