The Japanese Earthquake

Japanese quakes highlight danger of new catastrophe

By Mike Head, 26 November 2016

The tremors point to the lack of remedial, planning and precautionary measures taken by successive Japanese governments since the Fukushima disaster in 2011.

Earthquakes in Japan kill 42 people, injure 1,000

By Peter Symonds, 18 April 2016

The response of the Japanese government has been a military one—despatching some 20,000 troops as part of rescue and relief operations.

Five years after Japan’s nuclear disaster, TEPCO executives charged

By Ben McGrath, 10 March 2016

As it seeks to reopen the country’s nuclear plants, the government is opposing even the limited charges of negligence in connection with the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe.

Japan: Two workers killed at TEPCO nuclear plants in Fukushima

By Ben McGrath, 26 January 2015

The deaths are another reminder of the ongoing dangers at the tsunami-affected Fukushima Daiichi complex, and the official disregard for workers’ health and safety.

Ten years since the Asian tsunami disaster

By Wije Dias, 27 December 2014

December 26 marked the 10th anniversary of the Indian Ocean tsunami in which some 230,000 people lost their lives. We repost here a speech that was delivered by Wije Dias, the general secretary of the Socialist Equality Party in Sri Lanka, on February 4, 2005.

Japan: Fukushima worker sues TEPCO over radiation exposure

By Will Morrow, 12 May 2014

The lawsuit comes amid growing anger among workers at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, dangerous conditions and low pay.

Japan: New radioactive water leak at Fukushima

By Will Morrow, 24 February 2014

No faith can be placed in any of TEPCO’s claims about the extent of radioactive material that has reached the environment.

TEPCO reports new leaks at Fukushima reactor

By John Marion, 28 August 2013

This latest threat to public health comes after revelations that radioactive water from underground storage tanks and groundwater has leaked into the ocean.

Contaminated water leaks into sea from Japan’s crippled nuclear plant

By Peter Symonds, 7 August 2013

Japan’s nuclear regulatory authority has offered no solution to what it has declared as an emergency.

Two years after earthquake

North eastern Japan still a disaster zone

By Peter Symonds, 11 March 2013

More than 300,000 evacuees are living in temporary accommodation and reconstruction has barely begun.

Japanese PM orders restart of nuclear reactors

By Peter Symonds, 19 June 2012

Noda made the announcement under pressure from the corporate elite despite widespread public opposition in the wake of last year’s Fukushima nuclear disaster.

One year since Japan’s triple disaster

By Mike Head, 13 March 2012

Twelve months on, the human, economic and political impact of Japan’s calamity is still deepening.

Mass protest in Tokyo against nuclear power

By John Chan, 21 September 2011

The 60,000-strong rally was the largest since the March 11 earthquake that triggered the Fukushima nuclear plant meltdown.

Japan: Six months after the triple disaster

By Peter Symonds, 12 September 2011

Just as in tsunami-hit Aceh in Indonesia, the devastation in Japan has been greatly compounded by the dictates of the profit system.

Japanese government seeks to defuse opposition to nuclear industry

By Mike Head, 20 August 2011

Amid further reports of radiation dangers, the Kan government is trying to overcome popular anger and distrust by integrating two regulatory agencies into a Nuclear Safety Agency.

After Fukushima: Massive global expansion of nuclear industry under way

By William Whitlow, 6 July 2011

A report from the Economist Intelligence Unit predicts a massive worldwide growth in nuclear energy production over the next decade.

From Hiroshima to Fukushima: The political background to the nuclear disaster in Japan

By a guest contributor, 24 June 2011

The propagation of nuclear technology in Japan was a direct consequence of US efforts—for military reasons— to wield influence over the country’s development immediately after the Second World War.

From Hiroshima to Fukushima: The political background to the nuclear disaster in Japan

By a guest contributor, 23 June 2011

The propagation of nuclear technology in Japan was a direct consequence of US efforts—for military reasons—to wield influence over the country’s development immediately after the Second World War.

Japanese nuclear crisis worse than previously conceded

By Peter Symonds, 13 June 2011

While TEPCO previously admitted that a meltdown had occurred in three of its Fukushima reactors, a government report said that a more serious “melt-through” might have occurred.

IAEA whitewashes worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl

By William Whitlow, 4 June 2011

A preliminary report by the International Atomic Energy Agency on the Fukushima nuclear disaster is a whitewash exonerating TEPCO and the Japanese government of blame.

New threats emerge at Japanese nuclear plants

By William Whitlow, 11 May 2011

The Japanese government has ordered the Chubu Electric Power Co. to close its Hamaoko Nuclear Power Plant, which has been at the centre of long-running protests and safety warnings from experts.

Japanese PM faces political crisis over nuclear disaster

By Peter Symonds, 3 May 2011

The resignation of a top nuclear safety adviser to Prime Minister Naoto Kan has compounded the political difficulties confronting the government.

Fukushima radiation levels rise to highest levels yet

By William Whitlow, 2 May 2011

As the twenty-fifth anniversary of Chernobyl passes, Fukushima looks set to overtake it as the world’s worst nuclear disaster.

Japan’s nuclear crisis far from over

By Peter Symonds, 26 April 2011

The Japanese government and TEPCO are attempting to reassure a sceptical public that the dangers at the Fukushima nuclear plant are receding.

Japan’s nuclear evacuees face bleak future

By John Chan, 25 April 2011

Tens of thousands of residents forced to leave their homes in the evacuation zone around the Fukushima nuclear plant are unlikely to return for years.

Report from anti-nuclear protests in Tokyo

By John Watanabe, 21 April 2011

The ongoing crisis at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant has produced rising public concern over the risks of nuclear power and indignation at the government’s response to the disaster.

Calls for Japanese PM to resign over nuclear crisis

By Peter Symonds, 20 April 2011

Criticism of the government’s handling of the disaster has come, not only from the opposition LDP, but, more significantly, from within its own ranks.

Japan’s reactor shutdown to take at least six months

By Peter Symonds, 18 April 2011

TEPCO’s proposal for its Fukushima nuclear plant is a list of optimistic objectives designed to placate a hostile public.

Quake disaster shakes Japanese economy

By Peter Symonds, 15 April 2011

None of the economic assessments deals with the immense social cost of the disasters for the tens of thousands of people who have lost their homes, possessions and livelihoods.

Untrained labourers working in Japan’s nuclear industry

By John Chan, 14 April 2011

At the Fukushima plant, owned by the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), 89 percent of the 10,303 workers were temporary contractors, subcontractors and sub-subcontractors.

Severity of Japan’s nuclear disaster raised to highest level

By Peter Symonds, 13 April 2011

While the government and its nuclear agencies were at pains to explain that the Fukushima crisis was not as bad as the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, they had difficulty justifying the delay in lifting the ranking.

Japan’s nuclear cover-up

By Peter Symonds, 12 April 2011

From the outset, there has been a concerted effort to downplay the extent of the catastrophe at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant and its ongoing dangers.

Large aftershock hits northern Japan

By Peter Symonds, 9 April 2011

Three people died in the quake that left more than four million households without power, and disrupted gas and water supplies in Sendai and other urban areas.

Major parties in Japan move closer to “national unity”

By John Chan, 8 April 2011

In response to the earthquake and tsunami disaster, the Japanese political establishment is seeking to contain the popular anger that lies just beneath the surface of daily life.

US report points to serious dangers at Japanese nuclear plant

By Peter Symonds, 7 April 2011

The US nuclear regulator has confidentially identified risks at the Fukushima plant far beyond those mentioned by TEPCO and Japanese nuclear authorities.

Japan: TEPCO dumps radioactive water in sea

By Mike Head, 6 April 2011

With the Japanese government’s approval, TEPCO is pumping 11,500 metric tonnes of “low-level” contaminated water into the ocean from the Fukushima plant.

Japan’s tsunami victims left struggling to cope

By John Chan, 5 April 2011

For tens of thousands of people in northeastern Japan, who have lost homes, jobs and loved ones, the disaster is far from over.

Japanese authorities warn nuclear crisis to continue for months

By Patrick O’Connor, 4 April 2011

Authorities are only now beginning to learn of the full extent of the damage inflicted by the March 11 tsunami and subsequent multiple hydrogen explosions at the facility.

Situation at Japanese nuclear plant still “very serious”

By Mike Head, 2 April 2011

Three weeks after the disaster struck, serious doubts continue to surround the precise state of the nuclear plant and the levels of contamination in the surrounding areas.

No end in sight for Japan nuclear crisis

By Chris Talbot, 1 April 2011

Engineers are now suggesting it may take 30 years to make the Fukushima site safe.

Widening global implications of Japan nuclear crisis

By Chris Talbot, 31 March 2011

The Fukushima nuclear plants are emitting ever-increasing amounts of radioactive isotopes.

Obama fronts for US nuclear power industry

By Tom Eley, 30 March 2011

In spite of the catastrophe in Japan and mounting evidence of dangerous conditions at American nuclear plants, the Obama administration has made clear its opposition to any change to US nuclear policy.

Reports indicate breach in Japanese nuclear reactor containment vessel

By Patrick O’Connor, 30 March 2011

The Fukushima plant owner, TEPCO, has reportedly admitted for the first time that core pressure containers may be damaged.

Contaminated water leaking from Japanese nuclear plant

By Peter Symonds, 29 March 2011

Highly radioactive water is seriously impeding efforts to bring the situation at the plant under control and threatening to further contaminate the surrounding environment.

Unanswered questions as radiation levels rise at Fukushima nuclear plant

By Chris Talbot, 28 March 2011

Workers were once again evacuated from the Fukushima nuclear power plant as radiation rose to extraordinarily high levels on Sunday.

Radioactive contamination spreading from damaged Japanese nuclear plant

By Barry Grey, 26 March 2011

There is mounting evidence that the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is emitting radioactivity more widely and at more toxic levels than acknowledged by the Japanese government.

Japanese government prepares to protect TEPCO from liability

By Mike Head, 25 March 2011

Radioactive contamination is spreading from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, adding to the huge damage bill caused by its breakdown.

Situation still unstable at crippled nuclear plant in Japan

By Chris Talbot, 24 March 2011

The events at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant are slipping off the front pages, but the situation in is still not under control.

Nuclear power, private ownership and the profit system

By Patrick O’Connor, 24 March 2011

In Japan, as internationally, the social needs of the population—including the need for a safe and environmentally sustainable energy system—are subordinated to the financial interests of the major corporations.

Japanese PM calls for grand coalition government

By John Chan, 23 March 2011

The government’s appeal for “national unity” is designed to block any public criticism amid growing anger over the official response to the earthquake.

US approves 20-year extension for Vermont nuclear plant

By Tom Eley, 23 March 2011

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Monday extended by 20 years the life of a Vermont nuclear power plant whose reactor is an identical twin to that of Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi plant.

Discontent growing over Japanese government’s response to humanitarian disaster

By Mike Head, 22 March 2011

Anger is emerging over the Democratic Party government’s failure to provide basic services to the nearly half a million people rendered homeless.

Japanese government delayed nuclear emergency measures to protect TEPCO profits

By Mike Head, 21 March 2011

As food and water contamination spreads to Tokyo, there is mounting evidence that government and company cover-ups have continued throughout the unfolding crisis.

Report details 14 “near-misses” at US nuclear power plants in 2010

By Kate Randall, 21 March 2011

The Union of Concerned Scientists documents more than a dozen instances of “near-misses” at US nuclear power plants in 2010 in a new report.

Threat from Japanese nuclear emergency widens

By Chris Talbot and Patrick O’Connor, 19 March 2011

Radiation from Fukushima has now been detected as far away as California as Japan’s nuclear safety agency raised its assessment of the crisis from 4 to 5 on the 7-point scale.

An interview with Linda Gunter of Beyond Nuclear: “This was a preventable catastrophe”

By Barry Grey, 19 March 2011

The World Socialist Web Site spoke with Linda Gunter, the international specialist at Beyond Nuclear, an anti-nuclear advocacy group based in the Washington, DC, area.

Japanese emperor calls on the nation to “share the burden”

By John Chan, 18 March 2011

An unprecedented speech delivered by Japanese Emperor Akihito on Wednesday underscores the severity of the crisis facing the ruling Democratic Party government and the entire political establishment.

Japan disaster to intensify global economic contradictions

By Nick Beams, 18 March 2011

The Japanese earthquake disaster could well be the catalyst that sets off a new stage in the global financial breakdown that began with the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008.

Desperate efforts to prevent full meltdown at Fukushima

By Patrick O’Connor, 18 March 2011

TEPCO remains in charge of the emergency response, despite bearing primary responsibility for what is shaping up as the greatest corporate crime of the twenty-first century.

Japan nuclear emergency deepens

By Chris Talbot, 17 March 2011

Neither the Japanese government nor the utility company TEPCO are giving trustworthy accounts of the dimensions of the crisis.

Obama administration maintains commitment to nuclear power

By Patrick Martin, 17 March 2011

US Energy Secretary Steven Chu reiterated the Obama administration’s commitment to nuclear power, despite the calamitous events in Japan, at hearings before congressional committees March 15 and 16.

Japanese nuclear crisis escalates as emergency workers withdrawn

By Patrick O’Connor, 16 March 2011

Several nuclear reactors in the Fukushima facility remain at risk of total meltdown, following a series of explosions and fires.

German chancellor does about-face on nuclear policy

By Peter Schwarz, 16 March 2011

The German government has responded to the nuclear disaster in Japan by making a panicky about-face in its nuclear policy.

Who is responsible for the nuclear catastrophe in Japan?

By Patrick Martin, 16 March 2011

Over the past 40 years there have been repeated warnings of the danger of nuclear technology, as well as a series of incidents—Windscale, Fermi I, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl—that demonstrated the real-life consequences for millions of people.

Japanese disaster’s economic fallout spreads globally

By Mike Head, 15 March 2011

The tremendous shock to the Japanese economy has profound international implications.

Mounting human toll and nuclear emergency in Japan

By Mike Head, 15 March 2011

Japan’s nuclear power plant crisis worsened today, even as the full horror of the death and destruction left by Friday’s earthquake and tsunami continued to emerge.

Humanitarian disaster in wake of Japanese earthquake, tsunami

By Patrick O'Connor, 14 March 2011

Entire towns on the country’s north-east coast were wiped out by the 10-metre high wall of water.

The implications of the Japanese catastrophe

By Chris Talbot and Patrick Martin, 14 March 2011

The World Socialist Web Site expresses its deepest sympathy to the families of those who have died, to those who have been injured, and to those who have lost their homes and whose livelihoods have been swept away in this cataclysm.

A report from Tokyo

12 March 2011

A WSWS reader in Japan sent a report overnight on the earthquake’s impact in Tokyo and northern prefectures.

Japanese earthquake causes catastrophic damage

By Mike Head, 12 March 2011

The people of Japan have been struck by the largest quake in the country’s history, followed by tsunamis that have washed away thousands of homes.