The Physical and Social Determinants of Mortality in the 3.11 Tsunami

This article investigates the consequences of the tsunami resulting from the 9.0 magnitude earthquake which shook Japan on March 11th, 2011, specifically in the Tohoku region of northeastern Japan. It finds that the height of the tsunami, stocks of social capital, and support for the Liberal Democratic Party strongly influenced mortality rates, while sea wall height and coastal length were variables with no measurable effect. The results imply that efforts to restore or construct new levees are not valuable policy decisions and that more attention is needed to strengthen social infrastructure alongside physical infrastructure.

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