Experts talk Japanese earthquake


Graduate student Tomoko Taki was in Tokyo when the 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami hit the northeastern part of Japan on March 11, 2011.

“It was scary when it happened two years ago,” Taki said. “I went to pray in Tokyo for the people right after it happened.”

After attending Japan’s Triple Disasters: Hope and Recovery, Challenges and Concerns forum by the Asian Studies Center’s on Monday in the International Center, Taki was all smiles to see people still cared about Japan.

The natural disaster about two years ago drastically changed Japan and surrounding countries. Relief projects and efforts to rebuild Japan began quickly after the natural disaster occurred, but there still is much more to be done to bring the country back to life, said Ethan Segal, associate professor in the Department of History, who spoke on the panel at the forum.

After the earthquake and tsunami, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was closed. Segal said since the incident, almost all nuclear power plants in Japan have been closed.

The radiation damage that followed caused many in the U.S. to fear the use of nuclear power, and Segal said it was a sign that Michigan needs to take away lessons and observe the way Japan handled the incident.

“MSU is a leader in global education, and this was open to the public for the reason to understand international events,” said Julie Hagstrom, assistant director of the Asian Studies Center.

Because of MSU’s study abroad program, Hagstrom also said this can help students prepare for academic visits to Japan.

“This talk is one way for students to understand what they see when they go to Japan for study abroad,” Hagstrom said. “This also shows how MSU can provide ongoing support because there is a great deal of interest.”

After traveling to Japan, Segal said he wanted to share information about the social and political effects of the disaster.

“In the U.S., other news events in 2011 pushed (the) event in Japan off front pages,” Segal said.
“(I wanted to) refresh (everyone’s) memory and call attention to the long-term issues to what the people in Japan have been going through.”

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