Post-Apocalypse Japan: 8 Months Later

Christiane Amanpour, Matthew Drake & David Miller
Around the World

It's been less than a year since a magnitude nine earthquake struck Japan and unleashed a massive tsunami out of the Pacific Ocean, killing 15,836 people and causing the most devastating nuclear meltdown since Chernobyl.

A month after the tragic earthquake, with roads still impassible and clouds of black smoke coming from the reactor, Christiane Amanpour was in Japan on a helicopter above Sendai to witness the destruction first hand. High above the freshly devastated region, she found shredded homes, flattened trees and overturned boats.

It's been 8 months since her visit and Japan has worked hard to dig themselves out and move forward, but what does it look like on the ground today?

On Saturday, reporters were allowed to visit the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant for the first time, a positive sign that the reactors have finally stabilized. However, the road to recovery will be long and expensive. The cost for rebuilding is estimated to be over $122 million and the Japanese government predicts it may take 30 years to eradicate the sinister wake of nuclear material and to fully entomb the leaking reactors, leaving tens of thousands disposed of their homes in the toxic region.

But as the 1-year anniversary nears, there are reasons for Japan to be hopeful. Not only are the reactors finally stabilized, the Japanese economy has grown for the first time since the disaster.

On Around the World, Christiane Amanpour sits down with Patrick Walsh, the US Pacific Fleet Commander who spearheaded "Operation Tomodachi," which brought an unprecedented aid effort to our stressed allies.