On March 11, 2011, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck northeast Japan, quickly followed by a devastating tsunami. While many Japanese have evacuated, thousands continue to seek refuge in local evacuation centres, short on essentials like electricity, fuel and water.
As the country has battled to recover against the backdrop of an unfolding crisis at one of its nuclear plants, the world has responded with an outpouring of sympathy and offers of assistance. Associate Editor Ulara Nakagawa travelled to one of the worst affected areas and took a series of haunting pictures of the aftermath in Sendai. The Diplomat has put together a collection of the most striking images, combined with responses to what Prime Minister Naoto Kan rightly described as the nation’s darkest period since World War II.
‘ At my school, one of the lessons they like to teach us is about what we can do for the outside world. Making 1,000 paper cranes would show Japan that we’re encouraging them to get better. ... I think all over the world everyone’s heart’s desire is that Japan gets better. ’
- Carolyn Hoover, sixth-grader at Norwood School in Bethesda, Maryland