Aerial shots taken in March 2023 show the current state of some of the hardest-hit areas of the 2011 natural disasters in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures. (Video footage by Takahiro Kumakura)

Soon after the magnitude-9.0 Great East Japan Earthquake struck on March 11, 2011, photographers with The Asahi Shimbun took to the air to capture the devastation. 

On March 5, photographers again were flying over the hardest-hit prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima to record the reconstruction of the areas ravaged by the earthquake and tsunami.

Many coastal areas are now protected by massive embankments, but the building of new homes on higher ground has led to the hollowing out of what once were residential areas of the communities.

A photo from the air taken of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant on March 12, 2011, doesn't show anything out of the normal. 

But later that same day, a hydrogen explosion rocked the No. 1 reactor building and similar explosions also severely damaged the No. 3 and No. 4 reactor buildings over the next few days.

A huge number of storage tanks holding decontaminated water from the crippled reactors now lines the grounds of the nuclear power plant.