BtN: 東日本大震災 2011年3月11日 5周年

東日本大震災 2011年3月11日 5周年になります。 想像を絶する災害が日本を襲いました。 最初に大地震があり、その後大きな津波が襲い、原子力発電所のメルトダウンがあり、多くの日本の子供達の人生を変えてしまいました。

On the 11th of March five years ago a disaster of unimaginable size hit Japan. First, a huge earthquake rocked the country. Then a massive tsunami swept the north-east coast. And finally, that wave caused a huge meltdown at one of Japan’s nuclear power stations. Together those events changed the lives of tens of thousands of Japanese kids. Leah, from English kids news show Newsround, went to meet some of them.

LEAH: Tokyo. It’s a fast moving city that never sleeps. Home to millions of people.

It’s also a place where earthquakes are a way of life. But on the eleventh of March, 2011, the country was struck by one of the most powerful quakes in years.
NEWS REPORT: The earthquake struck in the middle of the working day.

NEWS REPORT: On Newsround there’s only one story. The massive earthquake that’s hit Japan.

Just before three in the afternoon one of the most powerful quakes on record hit north-eastern Japan. But something far more devastating was on its way.

NEWS REPORT: These are the rather shocking and amazing pictures that are coming into us now live from the state broadcaster.

LEAH: The earthquake triggered a tsunami right out at sea and half an hour later a ten metre high wave slammed into the coast, destroying everything in its path, including the town of Ishinomaki.

Ishinomaki was one of the many coastal towns along the northeast of the country badly hit by the tsunami.

Today, in Ishinomaki life is returning to normal. But one girl who will never forget what happened that day is Hanako.

HANAKO: I was sitting somewhere around here when we felt the quake. At first I didn’t think it would be that big. But soon I realised it would be huge. We all went under desks to protect ourselves.

HANAKO: It was shocking to see the seats of swings floating in the water, rising up high enough to cover the whole slide. I wondered if I was outside at this moment what would happen to me.

LEAH: Hanako this is where your home used to be. Can you tell us what happened to it?

HANAKO: Ever since I was born I lived in this house with my mum, dad, and big sister. She was alone at home when the tsunami hit the house. She ran to our neighbour and saw a car being washed away by the tsunami. She insisted she never wanted to live around here again. My school friends helped me after the difficult times following the tsunami. I have many friends now, I feel very lucky.

LEAH: It’s great to see children like Hanako back in the classroom with friends supporting one another. But there’s a town not too far away from here that’s thought to be too dangerous for anyone to live.

This is Tomioka town. Just look around, it’s deserted. The reason people don’t live here anymore is because of something called radiation. It leaked from the nuclear power station just a few kilometres from here. It was after the building was hit by a powerful wave.

After the accident, Japan’s government moved everyone living within a few miles of the plant and closed it down.

LEAH: It’s playtime here in Koriyama city. It’s a two hour drive from the nuclear plant. This place was built a year after the disaster. It’s a chance to give children a safe environment to play and also have loads of fun. Fear of radiation means many parents prefer their children to play indoors. That means most of the children here have no idea what it’s like to play outside in the fresh air.

GIRL: The sea of radiation isn’t completely gone. We have less opportunity to play outside compared to before the disaster.

GIRL 2: And when we were stuck indoors, we were all getting angry and arguing a lot. We can now go outside more. That’s made us closer and better friends.

LEAH: What happened that day, the destruction that it brought, will stay with the people of Japan forever. Natural disasters will always be a part of life for children here, but I’ve witnessed their strength and determination to get back to normal.


Behind the News