March 11 2012

Japan Earthquake-Tsunami – One Year Later

Japan mapOne year has passed since the tragedies of March 11 in Japan.  Though 366 days have passed, the horrors of that day persist, and probably will for decades.

The Japan Earthquake-Tsunami has immediate impacts on the people of the country, but as work continues to clean up the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, it has become obvious that the contamination has become widespread.

I have continued to follow the news out of Japan for the past year, and it just seems that every time I turn around there is a set back to getting this country back on course.  However, Japan being Japan, no matter how overwhelming things may seem, the country pulls together.  As of Mid-February of this year, volunteerism had reached 930,000 people according to the Japanese Council of Social Welfare.  This does not include the number of people who had also donated their time via private community groups.  Stories are everywhere you look of Tokyo residents leaving the capital after work on Friday to travel the 200-plus miles to the devastation zone and spending their weekends cleaning up the wreckage, delivering food to temporary housing encampments and even assisting in cleaning up family photos found in the wreckage.

Japan, as always, rallies around its sense of community, and it’s not surprising.

One thing I did see through out the year that annoyed me mainly came from Twitter.  Time and time again I saw people tweeting about how no assistance should be given to the country until it agreed to stop its whaling.  Look, I’m not a fan of the whaling either, but holding relief hostage from completely innocent people that have nothing to do with the action?  Are you insane?  People that had absolutely nothing to with your cause du jour have lost everything from their homes to family members, living in temporary housing in horrible conditions, and you’re going to keep tweeting about how no assistance should be given until the Japanese government, which has some fairly serious matters on its plate such as melting nuclear reactors, takes time out to vote on your cause of choice?

See that corner over there?  Please go sit in it and think about what you’ve done.

Japan is recovering, but as one would suspect when you have an event of this size, it’s slow going.  This is sure to be something that needs to be revisited time and time again over the coming years.

For now, my thoughts go out to the families and loved ones of the 19,000 who perished on March 11, 2011 and in the days that followed.

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