Just after 11pm on Saturday evening, as we were preparing to go to sleep, the dog started barking, and then the shaking began. I could hear the rattling of the cabinet doors and the dishes in the drain clattered. Opening the front door I could hear the shaking of the ground and all the houses around us. Where I live in Tokyo, it registered 4 on the Japanese scale. At its source off the coast of Fukushima it was a strong 6 on the same Japanese scale.
Six prefectures have reported people with injuries, though no serious injuries have been confirmed and no casualties have been reported. Power was out for almost a million people, but was mostly restored within a few hours. There is damage to roads and buildings, a landslide that took out part of a highway, and a lot of clean up to do. Broken dishes and toppled bookshelves are just the beginning.
This quake comes almost exactly 10 years after the Great East Japan Earthquake, which triggered the tsunami, and the following nuclear disasters. Experts are telling us that this, too, is an aftershock. That due to the size of the 2011 quake, it is not unusual to have an aftershock of this size ten years later.
Organizations that responded to the 2011 disasters have been planning their 10 year anniversary programs. Here at CRASH Japan we have also been planning how to appropriately mark this occasion. There is a desire to celebrate recovery, and put the hard parts of it behind us. We would like to be able to say ‘That is all over now. We are done with it.’ But an event like this reminds us that we are vulnerable.