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April 5, 2011
April 23, 2019

Sea Walls of Japan

An earthquake and tsunami in March of 2011 leveled cities and left 18,000 people dead along the east coast of Japan.

The government responded with a plan to build hundreds of sea walls in hopes of protecting coastal communities from future disasters.

Rikuzen-Takata was among the cities fortified after the tragedy. It was nearly destroyed by the tsunami, and that damage is clear when comparing Landsat 5 images from April of 2009 and April of 2011. False color images make the damage appear even more stark.

Construction of a 41-foot-high sea wall to separate the city from Hirota Bay had begun by 2014, as seen in this Landsat 8 image from April of that year. In 2019, the completed structure stands between city and sea in the space occupied a decade ago by green trees and sandy beach.

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April 5, 2011
April 23, 2019