Japan: Three Months Later

June 11 marked the three months anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami of March 11. 2011.  Over 15,000 people died with an estimated 8,000 still unaccounted for in this ravaged region. Over 100,000 are still living in shelters.

The Australian

Radiation leaks continue from the nuclear facility in Fukushima Daiichi.  There is a 20 kilometer unsafe zone around the heavily-damaged facility.

Tokyo saw anti-nuclear protests.  Other protests are planned across the country especially in Hiroshima and Osaka.

Shoganai is a Japanese expression meaning that “life is as it is.”  Fortune and misfortunes are the natural order of things which the person can do nothing to change.

What happened in Northeastern Japan on March 11 was a series of natural events which could not be stopped.  The aftermath of the devastation, especially the damaged nuclear facility and leaking radiation, is a commentary on how life on this planet traversing the cosmos is so fragile. 

The stories in the Sydney Morning Herald from the survivours are heart wrenching. One cannot fully identify with such tragedy unless one has experienced it.

The Australian reports that discrimination against refugees or just being born in Fukushima is rising. Fear of radiation contamination is a genuine concern, but when people, especially children, from the affected regions are viewed as untouchables, it just adds to the victims’ continual grief and suffering.  In addition it is a sad commentary on the human race when fear, unfounded fear, replaces compassion for fellow travellers.

Most of the world may have moved on with other natural disasters, concerns and problems, but the people of Japan’s Northeastern region continue the daily struggle to survive and rebuild.  The human spirit is strong and resilient.

In this Thursday May 26, 2011 photo, Japanese refugees line up for their dinner at an evacuation shelter in Koriyama, Fukushima prefecture, northeastern Japan. Life in evacuation shelters is taking a severe psychological toll on those left homeless by Japan's devastating earthquake and tsunami, a situation likely to get worse as tens of thousands face the prospect of spending at least the rest of the year in temporary housing.(AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)

The Shoganai philosophy of resignation to the cruel offerings of fate is one of the aspects of living life on this planet.  For the people who embrace this belief life becomes what it is both good and bad.  They pick up the pieces of broken dreams and continue their journey of life.

Do you subscribe to Shoganai?  Perhaps, we all do to a certain degree in our daily walk on this orb.

In many ways the earth is an unpredictable and dangerous place when nature wrecks havoc. In the last several months nature has been very cruel to the inhabitants of this small global village on the outer road of the Milky Way.

G. D. Williams       © 2011


The Japan Times



News On Japan


The Sydney Morning Herald

Three months ago Iitate village was celebrated in tourist brochures for its fine Wagyu beef and its picturesque countryside. Today it is a place to avoid. On this still summer morning the once verdant rice plots are choked with weeds, ancient farmhouses locked up, animals gone. Even the frogs that thrived in the flooded paddies are vanishing.

Of the 6200 people who lived in Iitate, only 1200 remain and most of them will be gone within weeks. Pregnant women and children, the most susceptible to radiation-related cancers, left months ago

France 24: Video & News

Environmental and anti-nuclear group Greenpeace called on Japan this week to evacuate children and pregnant women from Fukushima town, about 60 kilometres from the stricken plant, because of what it said was high radiation.

Since the disaster, Japan has raised the legal exposure limit for people, including children, from one to 20 millisieverts per year — matching the safety standard for nuclear industry workers in many countries.

Greenpeace is among organisers of the anti-nuclear rally in Tokyo.

Aside from their “Energy Shift Parade” in Tokyo, more anti-nuclear rallies were planned nationwide, including in the western cities of Osaka and Hiroshima, which was devastated by a US atomic bomb in 1945.

Protesters also planned a Tokyo demonstration against embattled nuclear plant operator the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), once the world’s biggest utility, whose share price has plunged more than 90 percent.


The Australian: News & Videos


Although such examples are isolated, the severity and callousness of them led chief government spokesman Yukio Edano to condemn such actions. But many Japanese from outside the affected area remain wary in their dealings with Fukushima locals.

The Fukushima Bar Association says evacuees and their children have been victimised and petrol stations have denied access to cars with Fukushima plates.

“Discrimination to the Fukushima people is based on misunderstandings and prejudice, and it is an extremely serious violation of human rights,” association chairman Akihiro Sugano said.

“Fukushima people have suffered from a great earthquake and tsunami. And because of the nuclear power plant accident, these people are now forced to leave their home town.

“In the midst of such unrest, it is extremely distressing to face discriminatory treatment at a new place where they evacuated to.

“It becomes more serious for the children if they are bullied or teased at school because that’s where they spend most of their time apart from their homes.”