Encyclopedia of Natural Hazards

2013 Edition
| Editors: Peter T. Bobrowsky

Tohoku, Japan (2011 Earthquake and Tsunami)

  • Kenji Satake
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-4399-4_352


  • The giant earthquake (Magnitude 9.0) off Tohoku, Japan, was the largest earthquake in Japan’s history.

  • It caused nearly 20,000 casualties, mostly from devastating tsunamis.

  • The earthquake and tsunami also caused serious damage to the Fukushima nuclear power station, causing meltdown of the reactor, hydrogen explosion, and release of radioactive materials.

  • Similar tsunami hazards occurred in the past, but the experience was not utilized to reduce the disaster.

  • The lessons learned include the reexamination for preparedness for such infrequent hazards.


A giant earthquake (official name: off the Pacific coast of Tohoku earthquake, abbreviated as the Tohoku earthquake) occurred near northern Honshu, Japan, on March 11, 2011. This earthquake, with magnitude M 9.0, was the largest in Japan’s history, and produced a devastating tsunami disaster, as well as serious damage to the nearby Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station.

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Earthquake Research Institute, University of TokyoBunkyo-kuJapan