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At 2:46 p.m. on March 11, 2011, the Tohoku region of Japan was struck by what is now known officially in English as the Great East Japan Earthquake. Measuring 9.0 on the Rector scale, the catastrophic quake just off the coast of Miyagi Prefecture produced a massive tsunami that damaged or wiped out dozens of communities in eighteen prefectures along the northeast coastline of Honshu, the largest of the Japanese islands. It also triggered nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant, located approximately 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo. The official death toll of the Great East Japan Earthquake exceeds 15,000; more than 8,000 remain missing; hundreds of thousands were rendered homeless or displaced; and more will inevitably die in the years to come from injury and radiation sickness. Scenes of destruction and human suffering in the wake of the quake and tsunami elicited worldwide support, both material and spiritual. But amid global calls for prayer and other religious responses, the most widely publicized religious response to the nation's worst disaster since the Second World War came from within Japan itself--a series of comments made by 78-year-old Tokyo Governor, Shintaro Ishihara.