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Japan Earthquake Report

  • Date Submitted: 09/13/2011 11:00 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 42.9 
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The Tears of Sanriku (三陸の涙)

The Japanese government is many years away from declaring a final death toll for the Great East Japan Earthquake (東日本大震災), which occurred on March 11, 2011. More bodies continue to be found, but the recovery effort is hampered by lack of resources (especially in Ishinomaki City, Miyagi) and difficult conditions in other coastal localities. The statistics (based on the home pages of Japanese prefectures as of September 13, 2011) that I have obtained for extremely hard hit Coastal Regions (North to South) and Inland Regions do not agree with National Police Agency (NPA) statistics. However, the NPA (警察庁) has already acknowledged that their statistics for Fukushima Prefecture do not reflect many bodies left on the ground and unrecovered due to radiation. Virtually none of the estimated 376,000 tons of rubble in six towns (Namie-machi, Futaba-machi, Okuma-machi, Tomioka-machi, Naraha-machi, and Hirono-machi) in the “Off Limits” Zone has been cleared to date.

The collection and reporting of statistics by prefecture has actually served to obscure many important facts, and the statistics presented by the NPA simply do not conform to reality. The NPA statistics (deaths, missing, injuries, and property damage) appear to be the most complete and reliable for Ibaraki Prefecture. However, NPA statistics for Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima Prefectures remain incomplete and unreliable because the NPA is dependent on other government ministries and agencies for almost all of their statistics. The multiple, non-standardized, and unconsolidated lists of evacuees, which total over 700 pages for Iwate Prefecture alone, are completely disorganized and have substantially hindered searches for missing persons. The daily reports of Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima Prefectures present information using different methods and formats, and there are no discernible standards for reporting by the prefectures.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and...

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