The most severe natural disaster in Japan was the earthquake called Great Tohoku Earthquake. It occurred on March 11, 2011, in the northeastern part of Japan. A powerful earthquake with Richter scale of magnitude 9.0 shook the northeastern coast of Honshu Island and caused a large tsunami that mostly destroyed Tohoku region. Japan’s scientists predicted a small temblor in the northern region of Honshu. However, they did not expect such a terrible natural calamity because earthquakes of such intensity were unusual even for Japan. As a result of this catastrophic phenomena, Japan incurred substantial losses.
The number of human deaths during Great Tohoku Earthquake was incredibly high. According to Japan’s National Police Agency estimation, 15,891 people died, and more than 2,500 people are still reported missing (Oskin, 2015). Approximately 470,000 individuals were evacuated.
The earthquake totally or partially destroyed homes, roads, and rail lines, disrupted water and sewerage systems, and caused mine fires. Moreover, the enormous quantity of buildings, boats, and cars were washed away or seriously damaged by tsunami waves along Japan’s Pacific coastline. The massive surge ruined three-story buildings where people had gathered for safety (Oskin, 2015).
Japan’s economy suffered heavily from the earthquake and tsunami. About one hour after the earthquake, the unexpected height of tsunami flooded the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station located approximately 200 kilometers north of Tokyo and 100 kilometers south of Sendai (Takano, 2012). All cooling functions of nuclear reactors were broken which resulted in a hydrogen explosion and the release of radioactive materials. Due to the fire, radioactive particles spread and contaminated the environment for days. Thus, the area within 20 kilometers radius and between 20-30 kilometers radius from the station was polluted. In this case, all inhabitants were forced to evacuate from this zone.
The Fukushima nuclear crisis caused the critical situation in the region and declined the confidence in nuclear power technology in the world (Takano, 2012). The level of radiation increased in local milk, vegetables, and drinking water. Also, the high radiation level in the evacuation zone made it unsuitable for residing during the decades. The accident was rated at Level Seven of danger on the International Nuclear Event Scale. In order to exclude such accidents in future, nearly all Japan’s nuclear power plants were shut down after the earthquake, reducing the electricity generation of the country. As a result, the economy shrank five percent.
The public services and industries in eastern Honshu had heavy damages. According to estimations, the total value of the damages reached 16,900 billion yen. The transportation structure also suffered losses. The earthquake left many cracks and bumps in the roads and highways as well as destroyed bridges and broke railroads. Many ports located on the Pacific coast stopped its operation. The only available port after the disaster was Aomori. Vast damages on the transportation structure caused the disruption of distribution systems on the Pacific side of eastern Honshu, causing acute deficiency of the necessary commodities there (Takano, 2012).
The trembler destroyed the northeastern part of Japan where companies responsible for approximately eight percent of the country’s total production were located. A huge number of private companies stayed shut down in destroyed coastal area of Tohoku. Moreover, the earthquake and tsunami had a negative impact on the primary industry. The fishery service industries, located at major fishing ports such as Miyako, Kesennuma, Onagawa, and Ishinomaki, namely fish and ice makers, and cold storages, boat repairing docks, shipping agents, rest houses for fishermen, and factories, processing marine products, were mostly destroyed or flooded away (Takano, 2012).
Japan’s economy incurred losses that affected adversely the world economy. As Japan’s key ports and some airports closed down because of the natural disaster, the part’s supply chain was interrupted. This caused the decrease of the automobile production. Thus, such automakers as Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Mitsubishi and Suzuki temporarily postponed their production. Moreover, the nuclear accident caused the decline of touristic business. The number of tourists decreased after the catastrophe. Many cancelations of hotels were during one month after the earthquake and tsunami.
Great Tohoku Earthquake affected the Earth as well. Consequences of this impact are irreversible and permanent. Much contaminated water after the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station fell into the Pacific Ocean causing the fish absorption of radioactive substances. The earthquake accelerated the Earth’s spin. In this case, the length of the day became shorter by 1.8 microseconds. The earthquake and its resulting tsunami were so strong that they lead to detachment of enormous icebergs from the Sulzberger Ice Shelf in Antarctica (Thompson, 2012).
An unexpected and the worst natural disaster in Japan’s recorded history is Great Tohoku Earthquake. The powerful temblor caused the tsunami that heavily destroyed and flooded the coastal area in northeastern part of Japan. Many inhabitants died as well as many individuals were missing due to such horrible event. The houses and other buildings were damaged by the earthquake or washed away by the high waves of the tsunami. The catastrophe had negative impact on the country’s economy. The nuclear accident occurred at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station because of the tsunami. Moreover, Japan’s infrastructure and industry incurred losses. The transport structure, private companies, and touristic business were destroyed. Thus, the economy of Japan declined. As a result, the global economy suffered. The earthquake even affected the Earth. The consequences of this natural disaster will influence the humanity’s life for a long time.