Health complications stemming from Japan’s 2011 tsunami have killed more people in one Japanese region than the disaster itself, the local authority said.
Data compiled by officials and police show that almost three years after the huge waves smashed ashore, 1,656 people living in Fukushima prefecture have died from stress and other illnesses related to the disaster, compared with 1,607 who were killed in the initial calamity.
Along with the prefectures of Miyagi and Iwate, Fukushima was one of the worst hit parts of Japan when a huge 9.0 undersea earthquake sent a wall of water barreling into the coast.
The waves swept more than 18,000 people to their deaths across the country, and destroyed entire communities.
Fukushima was also hit with the resulting nuclear disaster after cooling systems at the Daiichi nuclear plant were knocked out, sending reactors into meltdown and forcing the evacuation of tens of thousands of people.
Almost three years on, many people remain displaced, whether because their homes around the power plant have not been declared safe or because rebuilding along the coast has been slow.