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thinking of Fukushima

Today I'm thinking of all my friends in Fukushima. Today is the second anniversary of Japan's 3.11 Earthquake and the disaster at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

I spent three weeks in Fukushima last year. For the next 2 weeks I will share a photo a day from my new After Fukushima project.

A map of Fukushima Prefecture hangs in the lobby of the Koriyama Baptist Church. Photos attached to nails mark the  hometowns of friends of the church, some of whom have moved away. Japanese-American pastor Nobumasa Tajima runs the church with his wife Beverly. The Tajimas lead weekly trips to temporary shelters still housing evacuees from the 3.11 earthquake. “In Japan, people don’t do charity work except after a disaster. We bring people food. But they don’t need food. They need comfort,” says Nobumasa Tajima.

While we're looking at a map, here's some quick geography: Fukushima Prefecture (province) is in central Japan. The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is on the east coast (center of this photo), in a region of small fishing and farming towns, 160 miles north of Tokyo and 67 miles south of Sendai.

The border of the Evacuation Zone now ranges from 6 to 35 miles from the Fukushima Daiichi, but does not extend as far as the three major cities of the province (marked with nails above, from N to S), Fukushima City, Koriyama and Iwaki, 32 to 50 miles away.

The estimates of evacuees still displaced vary widely, from 150,000 to 300,000, while each of the three major cities have populations of 300,000 or more.

More tomorrow.

SOURCES: Japan Road Atlas (Shobunsha), Google maps, NY Times, Asahi Shimbun.

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