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One Year Later, Remembering and Rebuilding Japan

One Year Later, Remembering and Rebuilding Japan

One year ago yesterday, we turned on our TVs and opened the newspapers to news about the record-shattering earthquake and tsunami that struck the northern coast of Japan. The disaster killed 19,000 people and unleashed the greatest nuclear crisis in a quarter century.

Yesterday, moments of silence were observed across Japan and around the world to remember the victims of this tragic disaster. Very little has been done to rebuild the hardest hit areas, in part to the unprecedented level of catastrophe, leaving some 325,000 people still homeless or in temporary housing. The earthquake was the strongest in Japan’s history, and the tsunami that followed swelled to more than 65 feet, destroying tens of thousands of homes and communities. It also knocked out power to three cooling systems of the Fukushima-Daichi nuclear power station, which caused a meltdown at three reactors and allowed radiation to escape into the air.

Japan had long been a leader in nuclear power generation, but the nation remains wary since the unpredictability of Mother Nature shown a harsh light on the dangers of this energy source. All but two of Japan’s 54 nuclear reactors have been shut down since last March. Officials say the Fukushima plant has recovered and radiation levels have decreased, but they admit it remains in a “fragile state.”

The URJ remains committed to helping the Japanese people heal and recover. Last year, the Union partnered with a number of North American Jewish organizations to form the Jewish Coalition for Japan Relief to coordinate rebuilding and relief efforts. The Jewish and broader global communities’ help and support are needed now more than ever. To learn more and contribute, click here.

Photo courtesy of Kyodo News/Associated Press.

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