Japan's Clearing Away Its Earthquake Wasteland

Sure, there's an enormous area around the Fukushima plant that's still horrendously irradiated. But for the rest of country ravaged by the March 11th earthquake, cleanups are restoring order to what looked like the apocalypse this spring.

The photo above from the exact same point in Kesennuma shows just how much progress the government's made. In March, the town was more or less leveled. Today, it looks sparse and abused, but no more so than some economically depressed parts of the US I've seen. Japan faces enormous, nigh unfathomable challenges still: the future of Fukushima, transitioning from nuclear power, massive political turmoil. But the psychological effects of seeing ruin hauled away should help what will be a struggle of many years. [In Focus]

Photo: Athit Perawongmetha/Getty