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February 29th, 2012
06:03 PM ET

Inside Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant

Journalists tour the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan one year after the disaster.

Filed under: asia • backstory • Interviews • Japan • journalists
January 26th, 2012
04:29 PM ET

Journey inside Japan's nuclear exclusion zone

It's a grim reminder of Japan's tragedy. Signs warning people to "Keep Out," "Don't Enter," and to avoid the 20 kilometer exclusion zone around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

78,000 people lived there. Now, they're all gone after they were forced to leave because of dangerous radiation coming from the crippled nuclear plant.

Radiation levels have gradually decreased since the earthquake and tsunami in March of 2011, but they're still too high for any prolonged human exposure.

CNN's Kyung Lah shows us what precautions people have to take before going into the exclusion zone.

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Filed under: asia • backstory • environment • Japan • journalists
April 11th, 2011
05:38 PM ET

Some of Japan's youngest survivors

From Nadia, Sr. Writer


April 11, 2011

(CNN)- A powerful 6.6-magnitude aftershock rattles Japan on the one-month anniversary of the devastating earthquake and tsunami. The aftershock triggered landslides, which trapped several people in the city of Iwaki. Workers at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant were also briefly evacuated.  Hundreds of aftershocks have shaken Japan since the initial March 11th disaster, making the road to recovery even longer.

Our Paula Hancocks has been traveling through devastated Japanese communities with photographer David Hawley and producer Jiyeon Lee. In the town of Tome, the team met some young survivors who are learning to cope with losses most of us can’t even imagine.

Filed under: backstory • Japan
April 7th, 2011
01:48 PM ET

Japan's Disaster in Words and Pictures

The magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on March 11th is being blamed for more than 12,000 deaths.  At this writing, more than 15,000 people are still missing and unaccounted for in the wake of the disaster.

In the days after the quake and tsunami struck, CNN crews fanned out across the disaster zone to bring the story to the world.  One of the crews on the ground was reporter Gary Tuchman, producer Justine Redman and photojournalist Mark Biello.  Mark recently returned to Atlanta from Japan and shared some his most powerful images and stories with BackStory.

Filed under: backstory • Japan • photography
March 27th, 2011
04:20 PM ET

Japan: dealing with disaster and looking for answers

By Back|Story staff, CNN International

"...It's just absolutely mind-numbing in the sense that you've got three major disasters. You had the earthquake, you had the tsunami and then of course you had this nuclear, potential meltdown that has occurred. Any one of them, individually, would be a major catastrophe in any country. You've got one country, the people of Japan, dealing with all three."

Those were the words of CNN's Martin Savidge in Tokyo. He went to Sendai, a major car manufacturing area of Japan, where he encountered what he called a "car graveyard". He found the aftermath of the tsunami where people in cars, who were driving, had been poured over onto new cars, that were parked and ready to be sold. It was a scene where, combined with the clean up, bodies will have to be recovered from some of those cars as well.

Nuclear "trepidation" abounds inside and outside of Japan as well. Martin went aboard the USS Ronald Reagan to learn more about how military helicopters were flying in aid to disaster victims. He ended up finding another story. As a precaution crews were washing the entire U.S. Military super-carrier because it had passed through the plume from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, suffering possible contamination. There is a reason the ship is called a "super-carrier", it's huge.

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is run by TEPCO, The Tokyo Electric Power Company. Inside its headquarters in Tokyo, Martin and crew crammed into the scrum of journalists vying for attention from officials who were there to calmly answer questions from the press. All questions were asked and answered in Japanese. All informational handouts where given in Japanese as well. CNN had a crew member who spoke the language and Martin was given an opportunity to ask questions. You can find informational handouts from TEPCO, in English, for the press and public on their website. Our chat with Martin about all of this is in the video above.

Be sure to stay with Back|Story for more on Japan. If you would like to help please visit

Filed under: backstory • Japan
Back|Story Photo op: Huge ships washed ashore in Japan
Ships Washed Ashore in Japan
March 23rd, 2011
10:11 PM ET

Back|Story Photo op: Huge ships washed ashore in Japan

Posted by Back|Story staff, CNN

The earthquake-generated tsunami which struck Japan on March 11, 2011 tossed these huge cargo ships onto piers in the port of Hachinohe in northeast Japan. Shot March, 16, 2011

Credit: Mark Biello/CNN

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Filed under: Japan • photography