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Rising to its feet: Japan before & after (AMAZING PHOTOS)

Published time: February 12, 2012 12:36
Edited time: February 12, 2012 16:44
Cars pass along a street in Ofunato, Iwate Prefecture, on January 15, 2012 nearly one year after the March 11 tsunami devastated the area (AFP Photo / Toru Yamanaka)

Cars pass along a street in Ofunato, Iwate Prefecture, on January 15, 2012 nearly one year after the March 11 tsunami devastated the area (AFP Photo / Toru Yamanaka)

With the powerful earthquake and tsunami hitting Japan last year, the country seemed to be devastated and almost beyond recovery. Still, 11 months on, the Japanese have made amazing progress in raising their lives and cities from the rubble.

The natural disaster which hit Japan back in March 2011 left the country’s northeastern coast almost entirely destroyed. The earthquake caused a major nuclear crisis as the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear facility was partially destroyed and leaking radiation.

The natural disaster left over 20,000 dead or missing, generating global sympathy over the terrible tragedy. About 100,000 people had to flee their homes to escape radiation.

The country’s authorities said that their drive to reconstruct the devastated territory was more than just a domestic issue.


The view of a tsunami hit area of Ofunato, Iwate prefecture on March 14, 2011 (L) and on January 15, 2012 (R) (AFP Photo / Toshifumi Kitamura)
The view of a tsunami hit area of Ofunato, Iwate prefecture on March 14, 2011 (L) and on January 15, 2012 (R) (AFP Photo / Toshifumi Kitamura)

The bid sent the international community a signal that “even if you face and experience tragic circumstances, if you make efforts and work hard, you can get back on your feet,” the Jamaica Observer quoted Japanese politician Toshiyuki Kato as saying.

The Japanese authorities have made a tremendous work to pull down old and build new houses and roads, cleaning vast territories of the rubble, smashed cars and even planes and boats: estimated 23 million tonnes of debris.

The country’s Cabinet approved almost US$50 billion in spending aimed at reconstruction, the biggest building budget since the atomic disasters of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The overall cost of damage is estimated at more than $300 billion.

The view of a tsunami hit street in Ofunato, Iwate prefecture on March 14, 2011 (top) and the same scene as it appears on January 15, 2012 (bottom) (AFP Photo / Toshifumi Kitamura)
The view of a tsunami hit street in Ofunato, Iwate prefecture on March 14, 2011 (top) and the same scene as it appears on January 15, 2012 (bottom) (AFP Photo / Toshifumi Kitamura)
The view of a tsunami hit area of Ofunato, Iwate prefecture on March 14, 2011 (top) and as the scene appears on January 15, 2012 (bottom) (AFP Photo / Toshifumi Kitamura)
The view of a tsunami hit area of Ofunato, Iwate prefecture on March 14, 2011 (top) and as the scene appears on January 15, 2012 (bottom) (AFP Photo / Toshifumi Kitamura)
A photo of Yuko Sugimoto wrapped with a blanket standing in front of debris looking for her son in the tsunami-hit town of Ishinomaki in Miyagi Prefecture on March 13, 2011 (L) and the same housewife standing with her five-year-old son Raito at the same place on January 27, 2012 (R) (AFP Photo / Toru Yamanaka)
A photo of Yuko Sugimoto wrapped with a blanket standing in front of debris looking for her son in the tsunami-hit town of Ishinomaki in Miyagi Prefecture on March 13, 2011 (L) and the same housewife standing with her five-year-old son Raito at the same place on January 27, 2012 (R) (AFP Photo / Toru Yamanaka)
People evacuating with small boats down a road flooded by the tsunami in the city of Ishinomaki in Miyagi prefecture on March 12, 2011 (top) and the same area on January 13, 2012 (bottom) (AFP Photo / Toru Yamanaka)
People evacuating with small boats down a road flooded by the tsunami in the city of Ishinomaki in Miyagi prefecture on March 12, 2011 (top) and the same area on January 13, 2012 (bottom) (AFP Photo / Toru Yamanaka)
Residents crossing a bridge covered with debris in a tsunami hit area of the city of Ishinomaki in Miyagi prefecture on March 15, 2011 (top) and the same area on January 13, 2012 (bottom) (AFP Photo / Toru Yamanaka)
Residents crossing a bridge covered with debris in a tsunami hit area of the city of Ishinomaki in Miyagi prefecture on March 15, 2011 (top) and the same area on January 13, 2012 (bottom) (AFP Photo / Toru Yamanaka)
A boat washed on to a street by the March 11 tsunami in Ishonomaki, Miyagi prefecture on March 15, 2011 (top) and the same area on January 13, 2012 (bottom) (AFP Photo / Toru Yamanaka)
A boat washed on to a street by the March 11 tsunami in Ishonomaki, Miyagi prefecture on March 15, 2011 (top) and the same area on January 13, 2012 (bottom) (AFP Photo / Toru Yamanaka)
A replica Statue of Liberty standing next to tsunami damaged buildings at Ishinomaki in Miyagi prefecture on March 15, 2011 (top) and the same area on January 13, 2012 (bottom) (AFP Photo / Toru Yamanaka)
A replica Statue of Liberty standing next to tsunami damaged buildings at Ishinomaki in Miyagi prefecture on March 15, 2011 (top) and the same area on January 13, 2012 (bottom) (AFP Photo / Toru Yamanaka)
The damage caused by the March 11, 2011 tsunami seen from a hill overlooking the city of Kesennuma on March 16, 2011 (top) and the same area on Janury 14, 2012 (bottom) (AFP Photo / Toru Yamanaka)
The damage caused by the March 11, 2011 tsunami seen from a hill overlooking the city of Kesennuma on March 16, 2011 (top) and the same area on Janury 14, 2012 (bottom) (AFP Photo / Toru Yamanaka)
A fishing boat washed up by the March 11, 2011 tsunami onto on a road in the city of Kesennuma in Miyagi prefecture on March 16, 2011 (top) and the same area on January 14, 2012 (bottom) (AFP Photo / Toru Yamanaka)
A fishing boat washed up by the March 11, 2011 tsunami onto on a road in the city of Kesennuma in Miyagi prefecture on March 16, 2011 (top) and the same area on January 14, 2012 (bottom) (AFP Photo / Toru Yamanaka)
A road covered with vehicles and debris in a tsunami hit area of Tagajo, Miyagi prefecture on March 13, 2011 (L) and the same area on January 12, 2012 (R) (AFP Photo / Toru Yamanaka)
A road covered with vehicles and debris in a tsunami hit area of Tagajo, Miyagi prefecture on March 13, 2011 (L) and the same area on January 12, 2012 (R) (AFP Photo / Toru Yamanaka)
Cars piled up in front of the airport control tower in Sendai on March 14, 2011 (L) after a tsunami hit the region on March 11, 2011 and the same area on January 12, 2012 (R) (AFP Photo / Toru Yamanaka)
Cars piled up in front of the airport control tower in Sendai on March 14, 2011 (L) after a tsunami hit the region on March 11, 2011 and the same area on January 12, 2012 (R) (AFP Photo / Toru Yamanaka)
Local residents looking at a tsumami hit area of Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, on March 14, 2011 (L) and the same area on January 12, 2012 (R) (AFP Photo / Toru Yamanaka)
Local residents looking at a tsumami hit area of Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, on March 14, 2011 (L) and the same area on January 12, 2012 (R) (AFP Photo / Toru Yamanaka)
Train tracks littered with cars in Tagajo, Miyagi prefecture on March 13, 2011 (top), following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami and the same area on January 12, 2012 (bottom) (AFP Photo / Toru Yamanaka)
Train tracks littered with cars in Tagajo, Miyagi prefecture on March 13, 2011 (top), following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami and the same area on January 12, 2012 (bottom) (AFP Photo / Toru Yamanaka)
Damaged cars on a street in a tsunami hit area of Tagajo, Miyagi prefecture on March 13, 2011 (top) and the same area on January 12, 2012 (bottom) (AFP Photo / Toru Yamanaka)
Damaged cars on a street in a tsunami hit area of Tagajo, Miyagi prefecture on March 13, 2011 (top) and the same area on January 12, 2012 (bottom) (AFP Photo / Toru Yamanaka)
The tsunami hit area of Rikuzentakata, Iwate prefecture on March 22, 2011 (top) and the same area on January 15, 2012 (bottom) (AFP Photo / Toru Yamanaka)
The tsunami hit area of Rikuzentakata, Iwate prefecture on March 22, 2011 (top) and the same area on January 15, 2012 (bottom) (AFP Photo / Toru Yamanaka)
A rescue worker walking through rubble in the tsunami hit area of Minamisanriku, Miyagi prefecture on March 18, 2011 (top) and the same area on January 14, 2012 (bottom) (AFP Photo / Toru Yamanaka)
A rescue worker walking through rubble in the tsunami hit area of Minamisanriku, Miyagi prefecture on March 18, 2011 (top) and the same area on January 14, 2012 (bottom) (AFP Photo / Toru Yamanaka)