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Impacts of the Tohuku earthquake and tsunami: Japan On 11 March 2011, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck the north-eastern coast of Honshu, the largest island of Japan. It was followed by large and powerful tsunami, which inundated the coast of eastern Japan and flooded parts of the city of Sendai, including its airport and many traditional settlements. The earthquake also caused damage to a dam, resulting in a flood downstream. The tsunami resulted in oil spills, due to the overturning of containers, which led to fires; it also caused explosions in a nuclear power plant. In this case, the earthquake was the primary hazard, and it induced related secondary hazards such as aftershocks, a tsunami, floods, fires and a nuclear accident. Japan’s proximity to the sea, and its geo-location expose the country to hazards, such as earthquakes and tsunamis. Additionally, the presence of oil tankers and a nuclear reactor in the area proved to be vulnerabilities, which, in turn, caused fires and nuclear radiation. The combined effect of this chain of hazard events left more than 19,000 people dead, hundreds of thousands Building collapse caused by tsunami in eastern Japan, 2011. Photo: Board of Miyagi prefecture. Post-event on-site damage and risk assessment 61 homeless, and vital infrastructure, including roads and power plants, destroyed. Furthermore, more than 700 cases of damage to cultural heritage were recorded. Many heritage buildings suffered minor- to medium-levels of structural damage due to the earthquake. In parts of the affected area, tsunami waves swept away historic and vernacular structures and collections. Further inland, beyond the reach of the tsunami, an archaeological storage site and other movable heritage were damaged by the flood, caused as a result of damage to the dam. Movable heritage was also contaminated by nuclear radiation, which, in turn, delayed its recovery. Power outage in the affected area exposed the wet, organic heritage materials, such as wood and paper, to the risk of mould and other forms of bio-deterioration.