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A woman prays at a beach in Iwaki, Fukushima prefecture, Japan, March 11, 2019 (Kyodo photo via AP Images).

The Unlearned Lessons of Japan’s Fukushima Nuclear Disaster

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Last week, Japan marked the eighth anniversary of the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami that hit the country in 2011, leaving more than 18,000 people dead or unaccounted for and triggering one of the worst nuclear accidents in modern history. A moment of silence was observed across the country at 2:46 p.m. on March 11, the time the earthquake struck. Sports teams interrupted their practice to pray for the souls of those who perished. “We must never let the valuable lessons that we have learned from the enormous damage caused by the disaster to fade away,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said at a commemorative ceremony.

The following day, three former executives of the Tokyo Electric Power Corporation, or TEPCO—which operated the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant when it took a direct hit from the tsunami—entered the district courthouse in Tokyo for the final day of their trial. They reiterated pleas of “not guilty” in response to charges of criminal negligence in connection with the disaster at Fukushima. The prosecution is requesting that each defendant serve five years in prison. ...

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