Tohoku: Disrupted Future

Near Watari (Japan), September 10th 2018. Even though an ordinance dating back to the immediate earthquake aftermath still forbids bathing in the ocean along the coast of Tohoku, a man swims close the newly build seawall near the town of Watari.

On March 11th 2011, Japan was hit by the strongest earthquake of the past 100 years, followed by a devastating tsunami and the subsequent Fukushima nuclear crisis.

The most affected region was the Tōhoku. The triple disaster not only caused the death of about 18,000 people and damaged the rice fields and crops in the area, but destroyed entire cities and brought the region's economy to its knees.

Still today, Tōhoku is struggling to return to normal. Approximately 30,000 people still live in temporary prefabricated homes, and many areas around the Fukushima Daiichi power plant are still off limits.

The government has implemented numerous reconstruction projects in the area. Many of these, however, have a large environmental impact and have been harshly criticized by the local population because they do not respect their traditional habits and lifestyles, or because they do not respect nature and the environment. A clear example of a controversial project is the 12.5 meter high and 395 km long seawall built along the entire coast of Tōhoku to protect the region from possible future tsunamis.

Eight years after the triple disaster, the Tōhoku faces another challenge: finding a balance between rebuilding infrastructure and reconstructing the community.

PHOTO ESSAY (Sep 2018)

Photography: Marco Panzetti
Subject, research, interviews and written article: Chiara Galvani, Federica Galvani (Orizzontinternazionali)

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error: All images on this website are copyrighted © 2019 Marco Panzetti