However, the country is not safe from fatal disasters (see table below) and the most recent, in March 2011, was particularly devastating. It is worth noting that it was not so much the earthquake as the resulting tsunami that caused this disaster, with the wave submerging and destroying almost all sea defences and suddenly flooding entire areas, from small coastal villages to large towns in the Sendai urban area.
In addition to the victims who died or went missing, more than 100,000 people were displaced which shows the level of disruption in those areas affected. To make matters worse, flooding at the Fukushima 1 nuclear power plant caused the cooling systems to shut down, leading to the meltdown of three reactors, a chain of explosions, and radioactive contamination in a populated zone which traditionally grew fruit and vegetables for the Greater Tokyo area. This made the incident one of the most serious nuclear disasters in history, alongside Chernobyl.