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Passengers take shelter in Yokota Air Base, Japan, after their commercial airline flight was diverted on the day of the earthquake. They are just several among thousands whose lives have been disrupted by the ongoing disaster.

It all started with the German on the Hibiya line. Clutching a snowboard bag bulging with water bottles, torches and other survival paraphernalia, he whispered across the subway car: “caesium has already escaped from the plant!” He was leaving for the airport.

My girlfriend and I had come from interviewing a potter for a promotional video, one day after the earthquake:…

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