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Japan: One month later


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    Debris remains in a flooded rice field which would normally be prepared for rice planting by this period. Armed with radiation meters and protective gear, police launched an intensive search for people missing inside the exclusion zone around Japan's disaster-stricken nuclear power plant.

    - YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Getty Images

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    One year-old Sae Muto is carried on her mother's back near emergency lights at an evacuation center suffering from power cuts following aftershocks. A powerful aftershock rocked Japan's tsunami zone, killing at least two and triggering new concerns over nuclear power plants in a region still grappling with an atomic emergency.

    - YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Getty Images

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    A recue dog searches for victims during a joint operation with the Metropolitan Police Department.

    - YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Getty Images

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    Earthquake victims line up for food at evacuation shelter in Fukushima City, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan.

    - Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images

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    Earthquake victims line up for clothes at evacuation shelter in Fukushima City.

    - Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images

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    A family, which survived the March 11 quake and tsunami, huddle together as they watch a television program over their mobile phone at an evacuation center suffering from power cuts following aftershocks in Shichigahama town,

    - YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Getty Images

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    Earthquake victims line up for food at evacuation shelter in Fukushima City, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan.

    - Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images

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    A month after the tsunami divastation, a family mourns and prays by a grave in Ishinomaki.

    - YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Getty Images

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    A Buddhist monk chants for unidentified earthquake victims during a mass funeral. The death toll continues to rise with numbers of dead and missing exceeding 20,000 in a tragedy not seen since World War II in Japan.

    - Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images

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    Japan Coast Guard frogmen jump into the sea to search for missing people at a port in Natori, Miyagi prefecture, nearly a month after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami battered the northeastern coast of Japan. Nearly 13,000 people are known to have died in the disaster, with around 15,000 still officially listed as missing.

    - JIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images

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    Tsunami survivor Kenichi Kurosawa (center) and his friendsdraw the words 'Ganbaro!' or 'hang in there' on a new billboard lit up with car headlights in Ishinomaki, Miyagi prefecture. His friend decided to make the builboard from recycle materials on his vacant lot.

    - YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Getty Images

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    Japanese Emperor Akihito (left) leans in to speak with an evacuee from Futaba at the makeshift shelter. A total of 1,412 Futaba residents are currently staying at the former high school building.

    - TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP/Getty Images

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    Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan (center) leaves after visiting the tsunami-devastated port area of Ishinomaki in Miyagi prefecture.

    - YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Getty Images

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    A Japanese policeman undergoes testing for possible nuclear radiation at screening center about 35 kilometers away from Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant in Minamisoma.

    - Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images

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    A protester holds a placard during a rally demanding the stop of the Hamaoka nuclear power plant in Tokyo on April 10, 2011. The Hamaoka nuclear power plant stands over the subduction zone near the junction of two tectonic plates and is named as 'the most dangerous nuclear power plant in Japan.'

    - TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP/Getty Images

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    A man talks on his mobile phone as he walks in front of an electronic share price board in Tokyo.

    - YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images

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    A little girl donates as geisha girls stage a fund-raising campaign for the victims of a massive earthquake and tsunami at a park under cherry blossoms in Tokyo.

    - YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images

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    Visitors gather under cherry blossoms trees at Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden in Tokyo.

    - Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images

JEREMY HOBSON: Believe it or not, today marks one month since the huge earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan. Another big aftershock marked the occasion this morning.

Marketplace's Scott Tong has been traveling around the areas that were hardest hit and joins us now from Tokyo with more on the rebuilding effort. Good morning, Scott.

SCOTT TONG: Good morning.

HOBSON: Well, first of all, sounds like there was a pretty big aftershock just today.

TONG: I was riding in the car on an elevated freeway and suddenly the car starts going left and right and then after the wobbling stopped we looked up at the light poles and they were still wobbling as we drove by. But since everything in Japan seemed designed for earthquakes I was just assuming that the bridge was the same way. But here's the thing about what's happening in Japan: The announcement on the radio came on and said, you know this is a 6 or a 7, and then the people in the car with me said, "Eh, only a 6." Kind of on with the business of Japan. And you hear about that everywhere.

HOBSON: Now you just got back from the place that was damaged the most by the big 9.0 quake and the resulting tsunami. Tell us what you saw there.

TONG: It's like one person described it to me before I went there. You drive down a beautiful coast, turn the corner, and there's Armageddon. Maybe 20 percent of the buildings in this one port city are still standing. There are commercial fishing trollers -- giant boats -- dumped onto the shore like they're bath toys. But here's the good part -- in the city of Sendai, half the stuff in restaurants is already back on the menu and available. At the convenience stores have fresh bread already. Factories that have power and are intact, they're not just making their own stuff, they're helping their suppliers or their customers to make their things so they can revive the whole industrial ecosystem. And they tell us, tell the world that manufacturing is still sound, it's still the best in the world, there are no two headed, radiated Japanese fish swimming around -- that the Japanese brand is still intact.

HOBSON: Marketplace Scott Tong in Tokyo, thanks Scott.

TONG: You're welcome.

About the author

Scott Tong is a correspondent for Marketplace’s sustainability desk, with a focus on energy, environment, resources, climate, supply chain and the global economy.

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