The Cable

The Cable goes inside the foreign policy machine, from Foggy Bottom to Turtle Bay, the White House to Embassy Row.

Cable guy visits Fukushima tsunami zone

DC was shaken by a 5.9 magnitude earthquake this week, but the actual damage was minimal. Back in June, your humble Cable guy surveyed the damage from a much more devastating earthquake, the 9.0 magnitude earthquake that struck off the coast of Northern Japan on March 11, which was followed by a devastating tsunami. We ...

Josh Rogin/Foreign Policy
Josh Rogin/Foreign Policy
Josh Rogin/Foreign Policy

DC was shaken by a 5.9 magnitude earthquake this week, but the actual damage was minimal. Back in June, your humble Cable guy surveyed the damage from a much more devastating earthquake, the 9.0 magnitude earthquake that struck off the coast of Northern Japan on March 11, which was followed by a devastating tsunami.

We visited Toyoma Ward, Iwaki City, in Fukushima prefecture, about 50 km from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility, on June 11. Exactly three months after the quake hit, the scenic beach town was still completely in shambles. Not one house along the shoreline remained intact and not one plot of land had been cleared, much less rebuilt on.

What we found in Iwaki City was a community that had hope of rebuilding their lives, despite the loss of all their possessions, many of their loved ones, and with almost no help from the Japanese government. The following photos show the damage of a real earthquake and the tsunami that followed it, as well as the determination of  the community to forge ahead.

DC was shaken by a 5.9 magnitude earthquake this week, but the actual damage was minimal. Back in June, your humble Cable guy surveyed the damage from a much more devastating earthquake, the 9.0 magnitude earthquake that struck off the coast of Northern Japan on March 11, which was followed by a devastating tsunami.

We visited Toyoma Ward, Iwaki City, in Fukushima prefecture, about 50 km from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility, on June 11. Exactly three months after the quake hit, the scenic beach town was still completely in shambles. Not one house along the shoreline remained intact and not one plot of land had been cleared, much less rebuilt on.

What we found in Iwaki City was a community that had hope of rebuilding their lives, despite the loss of all their possessions, many of their loved ones, and with almost no help from the Japanese government. The following photos show the damage of a real earthquake and the tsunami that followed it, as well as the determination of  the community to forge ahead.

We traveled with the Japanese aid organization SHARE FUKUSHIMA, which brought 100 volunteers to help clean up Iwaki City and raised $10,000 for the town. The trip was organized by Daisuke Tsuda, a young Japanese blogger-journalist who set up the entire day’s events, which included a concert, solely through Facebook and Twitter. Our participation was facilitated by the Sasakawa Peace Foundation.

View the entire photo essay: One small town in Fukushima

Josh Rogin covers national security and foreign policy and writes the daily Web column The Cable. His column appears bi-weekly in the print edition of The Washington Post. He can be reached for comments or tips at josh.rogin@foreignpolicy.com.

Previously, Josh covered defense and foreign policy as a staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, writing extensively on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, U.S.-Asia relations, defense budgeting and appropriations, and the defense lobbying and contracting industries. Prior to that, he covered military modernization, cyber warfare, space, and missile defense for Federal Computer Week Magazine. He has also served as Pentagon Staff Reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading daily newspaper, in its Washington, D.C., bureau, where he reported on U.S.-Japan relations, Chinese military modernization, the North Korean nuclear crisis, and more.

A graduate of George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, Josh lived in Yokohama, Japan, and studied at Tokyo's Sophia University. He speaks conversational Japanese and has reported from the region. He has also worked at the House International Relations Committee, the Embassy of Japan, and the Brookings Institution.

Josh's reporting has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, CBS, ABC, NPR, WTOP, and several other outlets. He was a 2008-2009 National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow, 2009 military reporting fellow with the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the 2011 recipient of the InterAction Award for Excellence in International Reporting. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C. Twitter: @joshrogin

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