Earthquake shifted Japan’s land mass, leaving coastal areas under water at high tide
ISHINOMAKI, Japan — When water begins to trickle down the streets of her coastal neighborhood, Yoshiko Takahashi knows it is time to hurry home.
Twice a day, the flow steadily increases until it is knee-deep, carrying fish and debris by her front door and trapping people in their homes. Those still on the streets slosh through the sea water in rubber boots or on bicycle.
“I look out the window, and it’s like our houses are in the middle of the ocean,” says Takahashi, who moved in three years ago.
The March 11 earthquake that hit eastern Japan was so powerful it pulled the entire country out and down into the sea. The mostly devastated coastal communities now face regular flooding, because of their lower elevation and damage to sea walls from the massive tsunamis triggered by the quake.
Scientists say the new conditions are permanent.