Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Image of the Week - Sea Walls of Japan

Video Transcript
Right-click and save to download

Detailed Description

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. Rikuzentakata 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.





Public Domain.