Japan: Online Archive for March 2011 Disasters to Open Thursday

The Japanese internal affairs ministry said Tuesday that it will open a Web site Thursday to allow people to search for photos and video clips related to the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disasters.

The online archive contains some 200,000 items related to the disasters, together with about two million items about other earthquakes and nuclear power.

The Web site is designed to pass down records of the disasters to future generations, help rebuild badly affected areas and take measures against disasters.

An English version of the site is also available.

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Japan braces for more rain as 19 die

People in southwestern Japan are bracing for more rain after “unprecedented” downpours left at least 19 people dead and eight missing as whole neighbourhoods were swamped.

Television footage showed torrents of muddy water carrying uprooted trees and other debris, while rivers burst their banks and flooded towns and villages in the main southern island of Kyushu.

Residential streets in the city of Kumamoto were buried in mud, while battered cars that had been swept away by flood water were left dumped on hillsides in scenes reminiscent of the March 2011 tsunami in the northeast.

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Boy Killed, Dozens Injured in Tsukuba Tornado Strike

A tornado tore through Tsukuba in Ibaraki Prefecture on Sunday afternoon, killing one person, injuring dozens of others and destroying scores of houses.

Firefighters and medical teams rushed to the area after the tornado struck Tsukuba at 12:46 p.m. The city is a science center, with dozens of research and academic institutes, but the tornado appeared to be mostly in residential areas.

A 14-year-old boy died after being injured by the storm, Tsukuba Medical Center said.

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Emperor Akihito Praises Japan for Tackling Disaster

Japans Emperor Akihito praised the compassion of a nation striving to overcome the earthquake and tsunami disasters, as he waved from his palace balcony to throngs of well-wishers for his 78th birthday Friday.

Akihito expressed gratitude to all who have worked in the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, which devastated northeastern Japan and left 20,000 people dead or missing. Those he thanked included military personnel, residents of northeastern Japan, volunteers, workers at a hobbled nuclear plant and overseas contributors to relief efforts.

“Looking back on this year, I must say this has been a truly distressing year, dominated by disasters,” he said in a statement from the Imperial Household Agency.

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Japan Disaster Drags On Nuclear Energy

The crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plants in Japan last March put the brakes on the industry’s revival, dimming prospects for the immediate future.

Since the March 11 disaster — the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl — several countries including Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Austria have reduced or halted plans for nuclear power.

Germany, which gets about 25 percent of its power from nuclear sources, plans to decommission existing plants by 2022, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

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Japan’s earthquake actually altered Earth’s gravity, scientists find

The devastating earthquake that struck Japan earlier this year was powerful enough to slightly alter the pull of gravity under the affected area, scientists now find.

Anything that has mass has a gravity field that attracts objects toward it. The strength of this field depends on a body’s mass. Since the Earth’s mass is not spread out evenly, this means its gravity field is stronger in some places and weaker in others.

The magnitude 9.0 Tohoku-Oki temblor in March was the most powerful earthquake to hit Japan and the fifth-most powerful quake ever recorded.

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Camera Inside Car Captured Tsunami Wave

Immediately after the March earthquake and tsunami in Japan, The Lede posted many videos as water engulfed whole communities on the country’s northeastern shore with lethal force.

But while the event is long past, one video we missed is worth highlighting now for the terrifying proximity it offers — recorded from the dashboard of a car swept up in the wave.

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Lives in limbo as Japan struggles to rebuild

Sakari Minato has fixed up his house just enough for his family to move back in. The walls still have holes, the windows are temporarily sealed. You can still see the water marks on the outside of the home left by the March 11 tsunami that roared into this northeastern coastal fishing town at the speed of a freight train and bulldozed everything in its path.

Minato doesnt know whether to spend the $100,000 needed to completely restore the house or move the family to higher ground away from the ocean. He still doesnt know whether the government will declare his part of town by the coast an uninhabitable tsunami zone.

Five months after Japans worst disaster in generations left more than 20,000 dead or missing, entire communities along the countrys northeastern coast face a similar dilemma. They have cleaned up much of the rubble and mud, fixed up roads and restored power. Tokyo and local governments, however, have yet to come up with detailed plans and money needed to start the actual rebuilding.

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Japan tackles a “century’s worth” of trash left in tsunami’s wake

When the tsunami that hit north eastern Japan on March 11 was sucked back out to sea, it left more than shattered lives and businesses in its catastrophic wake.

In this port city, a hub of the local fishing industry, it also left more trash and debris than the city would normally have to dispose of in 100 years. Despite the daunting task ahead, the country is committed to recycling it all.

Four months after the disaster, most of that 6 million tons of debris is still uncleared. Upturned cars lie by the roadside; abandoned houses sag on uncertain foundations; piles of timber and masonry await collection.

"When you get a century’s worth of waste all at once, cleaning up is a marathon task," says Tomofumi Miura, an official in the city government’s trash-disposal department. "It will take us at least a year just to collect it all."

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DNA database planned to help identify bodies in Japan

Sendai — To speed up the identification process of corpses, police in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures plan to compile a database of DNA samples from relatives of people still missing following the March 11 disaster, according to police sources.

The police will likely start collecting the DNA samples in mid-May, the sources said.

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