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March 11 marks the passing of four years since the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami devastated the country’s northeastern coastline and triggered a further disaster in Fukushima, where Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s No. 1 nuclear power plant suffered meltdowns. As a result of the triple disaster, including the lingering nuclear contamination, nearly 120,000 people from Fukushima Prefecture remain unable to return to their homes. Most are resigned to starting new lives elsewhere.

Japan is a world leader when it comes to disaster-resilient engineering and early warning systems, but this disaster taught us that whatever safeguards we have in place, we must also anticipate the unimaginable.

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