Tragedy and Resilience

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Photograph by Peter Hapak for TIME

A Japanese friend of mine lost both her parents in the past few years. The other night she told my wife and me that, in a strange way, the only consolation for her is that they do not have to live through Japan's current sorrows.

It is hard to watch what is happening to that ancient island nation. But as Hannah Beech--our China bureau chief, who is half Japanese--writes, Japan's culture is one of deep resilience. Adversity defines who the Japanese are. Hannah and Hong Kong--based reporter Krista Mahr have been filing all week from the front lines in Japan, accompanying a father on a quest to find his daughter in the hard-hit city of Sendai, talking to evacuees being tested for radiation, standing with thousands of Japanese citizens in line to buy food and water.

TIME photographers Jim Nachtwey and Dominic Nahr have been on the ground as well, documenting the aftermath of the devastating earthquake and tsunami. Jim, who has photographed war and destruction all around the planet, says, "The scale of this is beyond belief. It's apocalyptic." You can see their powerful photographs in this issue and on LightBox our new photo blog edited and curated by TIME's award-winning photography department.

When it comes to the risk of a nuclear disaster, we tend to obsess about the possibilities and ignore the probabilities. Jeffrey Kluger's piece on the Fukushima reactors analyzes the likelihood of a Chernobyl-level scenario. But as Michael Grunwald's agenda-setting piece on the future of nuclear power in the U.S. shows, it's not the danger that will set back nuclear power in America--it's the cost.

Richard Stengel, MANAGING EDITOR