Case Study Summary_Shaban

My case study was the 2011 Japan Earthquake and Tsunami.  This was the worst catastrophes in Japanese histories resulting in almost 16,000 deaths and 2,500 people still missing to this day.  It was on March 11, 2011, and began with an earthquake in a subduction zone just off the shore of Japan along a fault line that caused a massive tsunami.  The earthquake lasted about 6 minutes and had a magnitude of 9.1and the tsunami had a height of 128 feet above sea level and flooded about 217 square miles inland, including the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.  This created a third disaster because the tsunami flooded 3 cooling towers and shut down all power and back up generators.

The resilience of the Japanese was astonishing during this catastrophe because it didn’t take as long as one may think for them to recover.  Just one year after the disaster, they were still cleaning up debris, but they had already began restoring buildings and searching for people.  I believe that it has to do with the Women’s World Cup because just a few months after the earthquake-tsunami double team they won the World Cup against the United States in penalties.  There’s many sources that show a positive shock to the economy after a country wins the World Cup where the entire economy will spike for a short period of time.  The disaster destroyed their economy, but winning the World Cup made up the difference for the citizens, as well as boosting morale so they knew they could make it through.

What’s interesting about this case, aside from a horrible chain reaction that no one could have predicted, was that Japan is equipped very well with preventative measures for natural disasters, but for they weren’t prepared for one of this magnitude.  Japan has a system in place that shuts down all public transportation and factories when a disaster occurs, as well as sending out a warning text message to every citizen, which during this disaster the text went out just one minute before the disaster that helped save more lives.  There was a lot of lives lost, but if they didn’t have the system set in place, it would have been worse.

Many deaths were caused by drowning, but there were also many fires that started and nuclear issues because of the Power Plant meltdown.  This was a horrible catastrophe that took many lives and caused many injuries, but the people of Japan still recovered well.  If they learned anything from this, it’s that they should look into more signs because there were some signs that the hazard would be this bad, but no one believed it.  Officials only thought the earthquake would be much smaller and didn’t expect the tsunami to be that big as well.  They also should adjust their preventative measures and increase their resiliency.





Photos from 


2 thoughts on “Case Study Summary_Shaban

  1. I think this case study is a perfect example that goes to show that no matter how prepared we might be for a situation, as Japan was for this one, that never means it is acceptable to start slacking off and let guards down. The second we think that we are impervious to all disasters, a bigger and more severe disaster is bound to come and knock us off our feet. While I’m glad Japan didn’t suffer too horribly from this event and was able to recover rather swiftly, I hope that it will teach them where their preventative measures are lacking and what they can do to improve mitigation efforts in the future, for there will definitely be more events in the future like this one.

  2. It is crazy to think that there are still 2,500 people still missing from this natural disaster that occurred over 5 years ago. Are they still searching for those people? 128 feet above sea level!! That is crazy! I cannot imagine what was going through their minds as this was happening. It sounds like they were pretty prepared with their backup generators, but its terrible that plan fell through. Their recovery phase sounds like it was a fast process. It seems like they have taken preparation in learning the recovery process. To go off from this case study and the comment above, I think that it is safe to say that when preparing for a storm like this you should not prepare for what is coming, but you should prepare for something worse.

Comments are closed.