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The 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami (東北地方太平洋沖地震 Tōhoku Chihō Taiheiyō-oki Jishin[6]?, literally "Tōhoku region Pacific Ocean offshore earthquake"[FN 1]) was a 9.0 MW megathrust earthquake off thecoast of Japan that occurred at 14:46 JST (05:46 UTC) on Friday 11 March 2011.[2][3][29] The epicenter was 130 kilometers (81 mi) off the east coast of the Oshika Peninsula of Tōhoku near Sendai, withthe hypocenter at a depth of 32 km (20 mi).[30][31]
The earthquake triggered tsunami warnings and evacuations along Japan's Pacific coast and in at least 20 countries, including the entire Pacificcoast of North America and South America.[32][33][34] The earthquake created extremely destructive tsunami waves of up to 10 meters (33 ft) that struck Japan minutes after the quake, in some casestravelling up to 10 km (6 mi) inland,[35] with smaller waves reaching many other countries after several hours.
The Japanese National Police Agency has officially confirmed 4,314 deaths[4][5], 2,282injured[4][5], and 8,606 people missing[4][5] across 16 prefectures. The earthquake and tsunami caused extensive and severe damage in Japan, including heavy damage to roads and railways as well as firesin many areas, and a dam collapse. Around 4.4 million households in northeastern Japan were left without electricity and 1.5 million without water.[36] Many electrical generators were taken down, andat least three nuclear reactors suffered explosions due to hydrogen buildup within their outer containment buildings. According to reports by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), containmentof each of the radioactive cores is intact and no meltdowns have occurred.[37] Residents within a 20 km (12 mi) radius of the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant and a 10 km (6 mi) radius of the FukushimaII Nuclear Power Plant were evacuated.
The estimates of the Tōhoku earthquake's magnitude make it the strongest known earthquake to hit Japan, and one of the five strongest earthquakes in the...