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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Japanese Disaster- The Aftermath

For the return of Junction News I have chosen a story very close to my heart. I have written a number of stories about Japan on Junction News from the light hearted (Sumo Association) to the downright bizarre (Tokyo's Oldest Man) however, the world was collectively forced to look eastwards in March to witness the land of the rising sun sufferring its worst disaster since World War 2.

Of course as a self-confessed Japanophile and student of the Japanese language tit is strange not to feel some sort of  affinity with the Japanese people, even if I have never yet made the journey to Nihon and a great sadness at the complete levelling which ccurred at some of the Northern towns.  One of the most shocking pieces of footage filmed throughout the disaster was this one linked below taken at an airport in Sendai.

Indeed more so than many massive natural disasters there seems to be an enormous number of images and videos captured showing the utter devastation it has caused. For me this is one of the most interesting developments of the disaster form a media perspective. If a disaster is counted in ters of number of lives lost this disaster ranks far far lower than the Haitian Earthquake however, the scale of coverage, certainly on 24 news stations ranks considerably lower in my opinion. Could this perhaps be due to the wealth disparity between nations, or the wealth of technology and ease of access to such a great world power? Personally I think the answer is a simple yes.

While the death toll currently stands at just over 13,000 the final figure is expected to climb closer to 25,000. However, it is clear now that the world's focus has turned to Fukushima and the nuclear power plant that is currently in untold distress. And that is what is so troubling. The Japanese Government is notorious for withholding information, a fact which I became privy to when researching the shockings story of the HIV tainted blood scandal. The latest news emerging from the Government says that it will take a further six to nine months until the nuclear reactors will all be fully shut down and buried. This, the Japanese Governement states will give it the necessary time to decontaminate the "largest possible area" in order to facilitate the return of the residents evacuated due to safety concerns.

Most of central and Southern Japan and indeed Hokkaido in the extreme North has returned to normal, however, as with any such nuclear disaster this is a story that will be spoken about for years with various reports coming out of Fukushima detailing the possible effects of the leaked nuclear matter, while others will downplay such effects. It is clear the truth of the matter won't manifest itself for many years to come.

If you wish to donate to the appeal : Japanese Red Cross

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