Catholic diocese first victim of quake

The Catholic diocese of Sendai was the first victim of Japan’s tsunami following the earthquake. Covering a land area of 27864 square miles, the diocesan territory includes the cities of Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima. Initial reports suggest that Miyagi and Fukushima were the first to fall victim to the 33ft tsunami caused by the megaquake. In Sendai, where a major oil terminal exploded when its cooling system failed, Catholics form 0.15% of the total population of 7,207,624. In Tokyo Catholics are 0.51% of a total population of 18,552,995 people. In both cities, the predominant religions are Shinto and Buddhism.

There are approximately 509,000 Catholics in Japan, of whom 10,944 are in the diocese of Sendai and a further 95,877 in the archdiocese of Tokyo, which also felt the force of the earthquake even though it is situated more than 250 miles from its epicenter.

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