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Video: Glimpses of hope amid grief

  1. Closed captioning of: Glimpses of hope amid grief

    against heart attack or stroke: ] it's my right to breathe right.

    >>> a moment of silence in the little tokyo neighborhood of l.a. last night, as there was in tokyo, marking the exact one-week anniversary of the quake that caused the tsunami that caused the nuclear emergency that will haunt japan for our lifetime. the people gathered to pause, to chant, some shared stories about what had happened back home and how it had affected their lives and families. and what a week it's been. when you think about it, what a year it's been so far. but this story we've been covering in japan has also offered its share of lessons. some have even found a way to find inspiration. among our correspondents on the story, we hear tonight from nbc's lee cowan.

    >> reporter: in just a single week in japan , the phrase " worst case scenario " has been redefined. words like "unimaginable,"" unthinkable," even "unacceptable" are thrown b even they don't convey the escalating horror. yet rising out of it all is evidence the human spirit with overcome even this. there's proof in the sacrifice of these chopper pilots, braving radiation as they fly low over leaking reactors. there's proof in the relief workers, who have rushed from more than 100 countries to toil in the snow and ruin. and most of all, there's proof of the workers inside that plant, the unseen heroes known as the fukushima 50, struggling to avert a meltdown. bravery comes in odd places these days. especially where thing seem to have returned to normal. with no fuel, patrons at this restaurant are facing the real possibility of being trapped, if radiation comes. there's no complaining, though. instead, just a quiet determination.

    >> if they told you you had to leave right now, what would you do?

    >> we have to die.

    >> reporter: we have to die. a kind of stchlt toicism even in our viewer e-mail. our families are asking us, begging us to leave, one woman wrote, but part of me doesn't want to turn my back on the country that i love. a week ago japan was brought to its knees, and yet so many are still standing tall. maybe this trio of disasters did redefine " worst case scenario ," but it also offered glimpses of the best the human spirit has to offer. lee cowan, nbc news, london.

Photos: After Japan's earthquake and tsunami - week 8

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  1. A radiation measuring instrument is seen next to some residents in Kawauchimura, a village within the 12- to 18-mile zone around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, on April 28. Most residents of Kawauchimura have evacuated in order to avoid the radiation, but some remain in the area of their own accord. (Koichi Kamoshida / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. A brazier heats the house of Masahiro Kazami, located within a 12-mile radius of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, April 28. (Koichi Kamoshida / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Volunteers help clean a cemetery at Jionin temple in Ishinomaki, Miyagi prefecture, northeastern Japan, on April 29. Many volunteers poured into the disaster-hit region at the beginning of the annual Golden Week holiday. (Hiro Komae / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Japanese government adviser Toshiso Kosako is overcome with emotion during a news conference on April 29 in Tokyo announcing his resignation. The expert on radiation exposure said he could not stay on the job and allow the government to set what he called improper radiation limits for elementary schools in areas near the tsunami-damaged Fukushima nuclear plant. (AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Fuel rods are seen inside the spent fuel pool of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant reactor 4 on April 30. (Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. A volunteer girl from Tokyo works to clean the debris of a house in Higashimatsushima, northern Japan, on April 30. (AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Farmer Tsugio Sato tends to his Japanese pear trees in Fukushima city, May 1. He said he expects to harvest the pears in October. Farmers and businesses face so-called "fuhyo higai," or damages stemming from the battered reputation of the Fukushima brand. (Hiro Komae / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Members of Japan Ground Self-Defense Force in protective gear receive radiation screening in Minamisoma in Fukushima prefecture, after searching for bodies at an area devastated by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. (Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Ruriko Sakuma, daughter of dairy farmer Shinji Sakuma, rubs a cow at their farm in the village of Katsurao in Fukushima prefecture on May 3. Thousands of farm animals died of hunger in the weeks following the quake. (Yoshikazu Tsuno / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
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Timeline: Crisis in Japan

How events have unfolded since a 9.0 earthquake struck northeast Japan, triggering a deadly tsunami and nuclear power disaster.

  1. Image: The wave from a tsunami crashes over a street in Miyako City, Iwate Prefecture in northeastern Japan
    Ho / Reuters
    Above: Timeline Crisis in Japan
  2. Map Japan earthquake
  3. Interactive Japan before and after the disaster

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