Workers at a state run laboratory in Kawamata test food samples sent in by residents from the surrounding area for levels of radiation.
On 11 March 2011 a magnitude 9 earthquake struck 130 km off the coast of Northern Japan causing a massive Tsunami that swept across the coast of Northern Honshu. The earthquake and tsunami caused extensive damage and loss of life. It also caused an accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant which led to the plant being shut down and a 20 km evacuation zone around the plant being declared by the government. Levels of radiation near the evacuation zone remain high.