Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Post WW-2-Nuclear Japan

In sharing some of my recent experiences of the 3/11 events and in particular the ongoing aftermath, I heard an excellent summary, a prediction of sorts from my audience.

They are heading into post-WW2 conditions...especially when winter comes around... They had nothing... (paraphrased)

This sounds extreme to someone on the outside of the events, particularly given the highly censored news coming out of Japan.  News that has given birth to dangerously misleading statements such as those sold to the English-speaking world from the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) - "Japan is Safe and Open for Business". But given the record of earthquakes over a of Magnitude 5 just in July alone, not to mention the current and worsening energy crisis... "Safe and Open for Business" is not a statement I would put my money on..

No they aren't bombed out of house and home, their fields ravaged to the point that even the topsoil is burned away, yet at the same time, the current situation is vaguely reminiscent. Houses, entire cities, are wiped out, having been swallowed up and carried off in the tsunami. A nuclear reactor has gone beyond critical and officially into a state of meltdown. The resultant contamination of that meltdown alone is far reaching and incalculable.

The location of the Fukushima reactor is in Northern (East) Japan were there is a bulk of the farming and fishing.

However, not only were the areas within the evac zone affected, but I saw how the contamination from the radiation had gotten and still is getting into the water supply through rain and irrigation and is still contaminating both farm animals and the fields far outside the 30 kilometer contaminated evac zone.

A contaminated food supply, coupled with ongoing (and future) earthquakes would be bad enough but the final straw for me, the last thing that finally pushed me out of Japan was the looming energy crisis.  Of course, it was only looming back in April.  I saw it coming and searched for help to counteract the effects of what a lack of energy would bring about.  All to no avail as no one either officially or unofficially seemed to be acknowledging the likelihood of an energy shortage except... me?

Come end of June, however, and then the media and assorted officials finally start talking about it - 6.9% shortage anticipated during the summer. 

Some things you hate to be right about, but there it was.
Fortunately for me and Maru, we already had our respective tickets and belongings packed.  We gave our sad and final (and possibly permanent) farewells to Japan at the end of June.

And this actually brings us back to the beginning of our story, about the correlation between post-WW2 Japan and post-3/11 Japan.  Back stateside, my information was now limited to carefully contrived online news reports.  Of course, with further searching, even now I can find real unaltered information (much like I was able to during the China-Japan Border Battle of 2010).   So it was hardly a surprise then when in the Disappearing Prime Minister Incident, the prime minister himself mentioned winter energy shortages.  Naturally it was in a roundabout way.
Not that there were going to be shortages, but that "if we continue with our energy saving now, we will be able to get through the summer and the winter."

Admittedly,  there was a dead zone between the time when I had access to on-the-ground information before we escaped Japan and the time I heard this statement, but that interval of 17 days aside, this was the first time I had ever heard mention of winter in any context.

Energy shortages in the summer.  Energy shortages in the winter.  At this point in time, both are estimated to be at 6.9%.   (Although that number is brought to us through the strictly censored official media.)

All this brought to mind several stories by my all time favorite author, Dazai Osamu.  Although most of his writing takes place previous to WW2, he lived through WW2 and continued on writing for a few years afterward in post-WW2 Japan.  The images from "Osan" of broken families moving from one relative's or friend's house to another looking for shelter in post-WW2 Japan as their own houses were destroyed and rendered uninhabitable are not unlike the current scenes of the displaced Japanese captured on national TV.   People lost without proper clothing or food, much less homes or jobs going from one evac shelter to another to another and then finally maybe to private but temporary prefab house-like shelters.  Or "Tazunebito", the story of a moving letter written by one of the many homeless beggars of postwar Japan to a kindly young woman he met traveling on a train who gave him some food.  The subtle difficulties of charity, the complexity of something that superficially seems so simple as the giving and accepting of food for these displaced people.

No, it's not so bad over there and probably won't get as bad as post-WW2, but it is eerily similar.

 Thanks again for stopping into my little corner of the 'net, and Happy Browsing.  (^^)

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