The Mar. 28, 2011, cover of TIME
Cover Credit: PHOTOGRAPH BY ALY SONG / REUTERS
March 11, 2015 7:00 AM EDT

It has now been four years to the day since an earthquake and tsunami upended Japan. These days, the country continues to rebound from the devastating natural disaster that struck on Mar. 11, 2011, with cleanup — nuclear and otherwise — and reflection ongoing.

In the days and weeks immediately following the earthquake, those questions were all the more urgent.

TIME devoted a special report to the aftermath of the disaster, taking a look at Japan’s nuclear power industry as well as its national character. The insights drawn from those investigations are still worth heeding, even today. As TIME’s Nancy Gibbs wrote in the aftermath of the quake:

Read the full special report, here in the TIME Vault: Japan’s Meltdown

Write to Lily Rothman at lily.rothman@time.com.

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