Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami 2011

Japan is a country that lies between three tectonic plates; The Pacific, the Eurasian, and The Philippines plate. These plates meet at a destructive margin, thus Japan frequently experiences volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. 

 Statistics on the level of development of Japan:

127,368,088 (July 2012 est.)

Birth rate:
8.39 births/1,000 population (2012 est.)

Death rate:
9.15 deaths/1,000 population (July 2012 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 2.21 deaths/1,000 live births

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 83.91 years

Literacy rate:
total population: 99%

Birth Rate:
1.4 Babies per woman

These statistics reveal that Japan is certainly an MEDC. The high literacy rate informs that Japanese culture values highly the education of their people. This high literacy rate also suggests that Japan is not a very rural or farming based society because if it was, education would not be so important. Additionally the life expectancy suggest the level of economic development of Japan. Japan has the highest life expectancy out of any country in the world and from this knowledge one can assume that because of social and political factors like, health care, lack of violence, and general state of cleanliness throughout Japan, that Japan has developed to the highest point of an MEDC. This statement is further supported by the birth rate of 1.4 babies per woman, and thus the birth rate which is lower than the death rate. This mean Japan is one of the few countries, like Italy and German that have a declining population due to natural causes. This may be due to woman wanting a career and not wanting to settle down, thus babies are not being born to replace each dying person. Through knowledge of the demographic transition model, one might postulate that Japan is entering a hypothetical fifth stage, where the population declines because of lack of children being born, for various reasons such a expense and lack of need for children. Thus these statistics indicated that Japan is indeed an MEDC and thus we shall study how such an advanced country deals with a natural disaster such as the 2011 Tohoku earthquake.

Political map
Shows the major cities as well as the location of Japan. Also, Tohoku is located in the North-East part of Japan.

This map shows the significant areas in Tohoku, Japan, as well as the epicenter. It is also colored coded (as seen on the key) to present to what extent some of the areas were affected.





Timeline of Events and Recovery:

Proactive and reactive natural disaster preparation information:

The building codes- Japan creates buildings that will be more or less stable during an earthquake thus resulting in less harm by making ‘skeletons’ in high-rise towers and using extra steel bracing. Along the Japanese coast there are tsunami warning signs and well-marked escape routes to protect from the ‘walls’ of water. 

Japan is one of the most well-prepared countries for a natural disaster. The people are educated through news reports, schools, media, and etc. Furthermore, they have a “Disaster Prevention Day” where the methods for preparation are discussed. 

Seismic activity sensors were set up to monitor the movements of the surface to be able to give any warning. In the Tohoku earthquake, the citizens were given a 90 second warning from Tokyo. Also, they have built walls up along the coastal area to prevent severe damage from a tsunami. 

SInce Japan is an MEDC, it was well-prepared and able to support the disrupted areas after the disaster. Aid organizations in Japan and worldwide with the 1 billion dollars worth of donations to the Japanese Red Cross.  With their level of development, it was easier to recover considering that they had a good financial support from the government with the additions from other countries. 

In the response to the earthquake and tsunami, the government had mobilized the Japan Self-Defense Forces to the destructed zones and sent delivery forces aid the emergency shelters with the lack of water, food, or blankets. 

BCC News Report One Year After

Tohoku earthquake 2011