Thursday, February 12, 2015

The sorrow of Fukushima

March 11, 2011 saw one histories greatest earthquakes. I use the word "great" here in the sense of scale; there was nothing good that actually came from it. The devastation it unleashed on the Tohoku coast line will scar the region for decades to come with many areas unlikely to ever be rebuilt or recover as the younger generation looks to the cities further south to start a new life. Many communities were declining before the events that day, now they're in free fall.

Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant remains a catastrophe area with exclusion zones still in place. Decommissioning will not begin for many years to come and the technology required doesn't exit for much of the process. But the meltdown at Fukushima caused a secondary issue, it became a "distraction" to the real and present crisis. The meltdown and radiation released forced the relocation of many thousands of people but the tsunami forced the relocation of hundreds of thousands when nearly twenty thousand died in the tsunami within minutes of the earthquake. 

Over a million buildings were partially or totally destroyed by the combined effects of the temblor and black wall of water and in many areas the reconstruction process has hardly begun. And the world and Japan remain focussed on the one issue, Fukushima. The sense of urgency has left the country though 170,000 still live in temporary housing. The Mayor of Rikuzentakata has issued an open invitation for anyone to visit and maybe a little gaiatsu, external pressure, might help things along. To paraphrase The Economist, "what will all the foreigners think when they come for the Olympics?".  It's been four years, that should have been enough.

Just run. Run uphill. Don't worry about the others. Save yourself first. And tell the future generations that a tsunami once reached this point. And that those who survived were those who ran. Uphill. 
So run! Run uphill!

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