Japan Reopens Beach to Tourists 8 Years After Tsunami
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A beach on Japan’s northeastern coast that were destroyed during the 2011 tsunami have finally reopened for the first time in eight years.
The tsunami, in combination with the largest earthquake to ever hit Japan, caused widespread damage along the country’s coastal areas. The natural disaster’s 30-foot waves also caused a major nuclear accident when they crashed into the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, causing a meltdown. These catastrophes killed around 20,000 people, left 1.5 million tons of debris floating in the Pacific Ocean and resulted in about 25 trillion yen ($300 billion) in material damage, CNN reported.
Now, authorities have found the waters off Haragamaobama beach, which is just 25 miles away from the nuclear plant, have finally reached a safe radioactive level. Laborers finished removing all the debris from the disaster, and extensive rebuilding work was also completed on the beach’s surrounding levees.
A video from a Japanese broadcasting network, NHK, shows Japanese citizens of all ages running to toward the ocean with joy after a countdown commenced the beach’s opening.
Out of Fukushima’s 18 beaches, Haragamaboma is only the fourth beach to reopen since the devastation. Local authorities suspect that some beaches will remain closed indefinitely. The beach openings come just as Japan has been experiencing record-breaking temperatures this summer: Heatwaves across the country have reached nearly 106 degrees Fahrenheit.
Locals hope the beach will begin attracting tourists again. Before the disasters hit, Haragamaboma saw about 50,000 tourists a year visit its shores.
Featured image of beach in Fukushima by Eric Lafforgue/Art in All of Us/Corbis via Getty Images.
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