One month after Japan's most devastating earthquake in recorded history, the entire country stopped for a moment of silence to remember the victims. Thousands of Japanese remain displaced by the quake, without homes and without any idea of when their lives will return to normal.
Just a few days before the quake's one month anniversary, a powerful aftershock reminded northern Japan how unpredictable seismic activity can be. The 6.6-magnitude aftershock cut power to 200,000 homes and resulted in a tsunami warning that was canceled when no major wave appeared.
The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, which was damaged during the quake a month ago, continues to leak radiation and people have been advised to stay outside a 20-mile radius around the plant. That is complicating relief efforts in the area, where homes were washed away and people were buried in the earthquake and tsunami rubble.
Most quake refugees remain in government shelters, but some were chosen through a lottery to move into temporary housing units that are guaranteed for two years. Still, the need is much greater than the housing available, and residents worry that another natural disaster could strike and destroy more homes.
"I am sure that another tsunami is coming. I hope that the government rebuilds the tsunami barrier, so that we can go back to the life we used to have, but I doubt that we can do it within two years." - Takuya Kumagai, Japanese citizen
"We will rise up from the devastation as long as we keep the faith strong and everybody works in cooperation with each other." - Kenzo Tadokoro, Japanese citizen
1. What happened in Japan one month ago?
2. What is an aftershock?
3. What natural disasters can occur where you live?
1. What evidence did you see in the video that the aftershocks happening in Japan are having psychological effects on the people who are trying to recover from the quake a month ago? Why might continuous aftershocks make recovery difficult?
2. Compare the quake recovery in Japan to the quake recovery in Haiti after its Jan. 12, 2010 earthquake. What things are similar? What things are different?
3. Do you think Japan can ever make its coastlines truly safe from tsunamis, and its cities truly earthquake-proof? Why or why not? What are some examples of countries that have worked to overcome susceptibility to natural disasters, and what have they done?