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12 Feb, 2012 12:36

Rising to its feet: Japan before & after

Rising to its feet: Japan before & after

With the powerful earthquake and tsunami hitting Japan last year, the country seemed to be devastated and almost beyond recovery. Still, 11 months on, the Japanese have made amazing progress in raising their lives and cities from the rubble.

The natural disaster which hit Japan back in March 2011 left the country’s northeastern coast almost entirely destroyed. The earthquake caused a major nuclear crisis as the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear facility was partially destroyed and leaking radiation. The natural disaster left over 20,000 dead or missing, generating global sympathy over the terrible tragedy. About 100,000 people had to flee their homes to escape radiation. The country’s authorities said that their drive to reconstruct the devastated territory was more than just a domestic issue.

The bid sent the international community a signal that “even if you face and experience tragic circumstances, if you make efforts and work hard, you can get back on your feet,” the Jamaica Observer quoted Japanese politician Toshiyuki Kato as saying. The Japanese authorities have made a tremendous work to pull down old and build new houses and roads, cleaning vast territories of the rubble, smashed cars and even planes and boats: estimated 23 million tonnes of debris. The country’s Cabinet approved almost US$50 billion in spending aimed at reconstruction, the biggest building budget since the atomic disasters of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The overall cost of damage is estimated at more than $300 billion.