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Current Events:
The 2011 Sendai Earthquake and Tsunami


Workers Shut Down Water Recycling at Nuclear Plant
June 27, 2011
Workers at Japan's embattled Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant shut down a water recycling system after just a few hours.

TEPCO Announces Payout as Aftershocks Continue
June 23, 2011
The Tokyo Electric Power Company, owners of the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant, has announced that it will pay out an estimated 88 billion yen ($1 billion) to people who left their homes in the wake of radiation leaks at the plant following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. The number of people who receive such money is expected to be in the tens of thousands.

Scientists Seek Clues in Quake Data
June 16, 2011
As repair crews continue to sift through the debris left behind by the massive tsunami sparked by the March 11 earthquake, scientists in Japan are also sifting through the tectonic data they have recorded since that day of devastation, looking for clues in order to predict the location of the next big quake.

Three Months Later, Japan Still Struggling
June 11, 2011


It has been three months since the 9.0-magnitude earthquake that rocked northeastern Japan touched off a tsunami that devastated large parts of the country and its population. Some things have changed; others have not.

Three Reactors Had Meltdown, TEPCO Says
May 24, 2011
More of the situation at the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant is now clear, as the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) has confirmed that meltdown occurred at three of the plant's six reactors. Initial reports were of only one meltdown reactor, in large part because TEPCO officials feared a widespread panic in Tokyo and other cities if residents there knew the full extent of the disaster.

China, South Korea Pledge Aid to Japan
May 22, 2011
China and South Korea have pledged to offer support for Japan in the island country's steep road to recovery following the March 11 twin disasters. Prime Minister Naoto Kan made the announcement at an annual summit meeting between leaders of the three countries.

Power Company on Schedule to End Nuclear Crisis, Officials Say
May 18, 2011
The nuclear crisis that has gripped Japan is ending, according to the Tokyo Electric Power Company, which owns the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant, source of much radiation and concern in recent weeks following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that resulted in more than 25,000 people dead or missing. The power company insisted that its workers were still on schedule to bring the power plant to stability and shutdown by January.

Japan to Focus on Conservation, Renewable Energy
May 10, 2011
Despite recent announcements to the contrary, Japan will now prioritize renewable energy and conservation. In the wake of one of the world's worst nuclear disasters, Japan had recently recommitted to a plan of getting up to half of the country's electricity from nuclear sources.

Radiation Leak at New Nuclear Plant
May 8, 2011
A tiny radiation leak at a reactor on Japan's west coast has prompted calls for that reactor to be shut down, just like the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi plant that has issued so much radiation since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

Japan Promises Aid for U.S. Flooding; Workers Return to Nuclear Plant
May 6, 2011
Responding in kind to a huge relief effort in response to the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, Japan announced that it would deliver blankets and other supplies to victims of the deadly tornadoes and thunderstorms that ripped through the American South, killing more than 300 people.

Japan Approves $50 Billion Emergency Budget
May 2, 2011
The Japanese Parliament approved an emergency budget of $50 billion to help finance the recovery from the March 11 twin disasters. Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda announced the recovery package but warned that subsequent recovery budgets would be more difficult to get approval.

Kan Facing Growing Calls to Resign as Country Struggles Mightily
April 28, 2011
Japan continues to recover, if slowly, from the devastating earthquake and tsunami on March 11. Facing threats on multiple threats, Prime Minister Naoto Kan continued to appeal for calm and understanding, and for the Japanese people to start spending again to boost the economy.

Japan Begins Huge Recovery Effort
April 25, 2011
A massive recovery effort is under way in Japan, as 25,000 soldiers lead a group of helicopters, planes, navy divers, coast guard, and police in an attempt to find the bodies of many people killed by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

Japanese Cabinet Approves $50 Billion Recovery Plan
April 24, 2011
The Japanese Cabinet is getting on with the business of rebuilding the country, approving nearly $50 billion of spending earmarked for recovery, including plans to build up to 100,000 homes.

Top Japanese Officials Offer Personal Apologies for Actions in Wake of Disasters
April 24, 2011
Things are turning increasingly personal in Japan, as the leaders of the country and of Tokyo Electric Power are making increasingly using personal appearances to try to reconnect with the people battered by the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami.

Robots Beam Back Info from Crippled Nuclear Plant
April 18, 2011
Japan has turned to robots to get back into the hidden places inside the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant.

Officials See Hope as Shortages, Aftershocks Continue to Rock Japan
April 17, 2011
Japan's finance minister, Yoshihiko Noda, saw cause for optimism as his country struggled to emerge from the devastation of the Sendai earthquake and tsunami and the nuclear radiation that the twin disasters released. Meanwhile, a 5.9-magnitude aftershock rattled the country and people's nerves.

Japan Appeals for Calm Despite Highest Nuclear Severity Rating
April 12, 2011
The Japanese government continued to call for calm and return of some confidence, despite raising the severity level of the March 11 earthquake to the highest possible level.

Rice Farmers Must Avoid Contaminated Soil
April 8, 2011
Rice farmers in Japan will have to avoid planting in the soil contaminated by nuclear radiation, the government announced. That is a particularly heavy blow to the battered Fukushima and Miyagi regions, both economically and culturally.

Strong Aftershock Rattles Hard-hit Japan
April 7, 2011
Just as the northeastern region of Honshu was getting back on its feet, Japan's main island endured a powerful 7.1-magnitude aftershock, which briefly triggered a warning for a tsunami that did not materialize. Two people died in the resounding jolt.

Japan Dumps Radioactive Water into the Sea
April 4, 2011
Japan's efforts to combat leaking radioactive material took on a new urgency on Monday, as the country announced that it was dumping millions of gallons of contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean

Japan Pleads for Patience over Radiation
March 30, 2011
The problem keeps getting worse for Japan, as the country is now asking other countries not to overreact in the wake of higher-than-normal radiation levels found in food and water, even as reports are coming in from other countries of either radioactive food or fears of such.

Plutonium Leakage Spooks Japanese Cleanup Officials
March 29, 2011
Japanese officials have found trace levels of plutonium in the soil at the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant. Even though officials have stressed that the levels were too small to be of worry to human or animal population, the discovery of plutonium was one more element of difficulty that safety officials at the plant would have to work through in an effort to contain a worsening situation.

Japanese Disaster Illustrates Key Economic Concepts
March 22, 2011
The aftermath of the Japanese earthquake-tsunami-nuclear scare illustrates several key economic concepts.

Power Restored at Nuclear Plant; Food Concerns Grow
March 21, 2011
Nuclear power, its generation, and its radiation continued to be the focus of discussions and events in Japan, as power was restored at a troubled nuclear plant and concerns grew over contaminated food. Concern was evident as well for the mounting death toll and the many thousands of people still to be found.

Contaminated Food, Water the Latest Worry in Japan
March 20, 2011
The problems for the Japanese people continued to mount on Sunday, with the potential of an even wider threat due to contaminated food and water in the wake of leaking radiation at several nuclear reactors affected by the massive earthquake and tsunami.

Emperor Buoys Nation as Meltdown Prevention Continues
March 16, 2011
The people suffering through the aftereffects of the massively damaging Sendai earthquake and tsunami got two lifelines on Thursday, one from the emperor and one from a power company. Both were welcome relief for the millions of people seeking hope where often there is little.

Officials Abandon Troubled Nuclear Facility as Aftershock Roils Tokyo
March 15, 2011
The threat of nuclear catastrophe intensified in Japan, after two more explosions at the devastated Fukushimi Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant had government officials imploring people within 18 miles of the facility to remain indoors for fear of being exposed to nuclear radiation. Late in the day, officials abandoned the nuclear facility altogether, deeming it too risky to stay. Elsewhere, a towering amount of work still needed to be done to count the cost — in lost money and lives.

Aid Pouring in from Around the World
March 16, 2011
The devastation wrought by the 9.0-magnitude Sendai Earthquake and resulting tsunami is massive, and the international relief response is huge as well.

Immediate Future Grim for Disaster-weary Japanese
March 14, 2011
Japanese people and their government, not to mention thousands of rescue workers from their own and other countries, continued to try to recover from the devastating 9.0 earthquake and resulting tsunami that rocked the country a few days ago. The death toll was expected to rise precipitously, as regional officials were reporting in from villages whose entire population was victimized by the massive waves, perhaps fatally so. One police chief estimated that his province alone would report 10,000 people dead.

Nuclear Situation Critical in Tsunami-Ravaged Japan
March 13, 2011
Japan reported that four nuclear power plants were having problems (two seriously) following last week's 8.9 earthquake and resulting tsunami. Meanwhile, the massive search and rescue effort continued, as the death toll grew and grew.

Explosion at Nuclear Plant Adds to Japan's Tsunami Woes
March 12, 2011
The earthquake and tsunami that devastated northeastern Japan have created another problem: nuclear instability. The nuclear power plant at Fukushima Dai-ichi, 170 miles northeast of Toyko, has reported an explosion that destroyed the building housing the nuclear reactor.

Massive Quake Devastates Northeastern Japan
March 11, 2011
One of the largest earthquakes in recorded history has hit off the coast of Japan, creating a massive tsunami that descended in the form of 23-foot-tall wave of destruction on the northeastern part of the country, killing hundreds of people and injuring thousands more.

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