Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Where did all the panic go?

I was recently asked an interesting question as to whether the rising tensions on the Korean peninsula were affecting my long term plans as to life in the land of the rising sun. The simple answer was "no" however I did caveat the reply with a note that I may "reassess priorities if the arrows begin to fly". The only concern that is regularly raised amongst my international friends is actually the inconsistent message being issued from an administration in the position to inadvertently light the blue touch paper. 

However, English rock stars apart (Ian McCulloch), the entire country is hardly running to the hills or building nuclear bunkers under their homes. There have been drills in the north of Japan but given the four minute warning (well, ten, give or take) before a missile lands, there is limited scope for an effective retreat. So why the isn't there panic in the streets as submariners arrive in South Korea and an elusive carrier group steams (allegedly) in the general direction of the north? 

The answer lies in the Japanese psyche which is formed and moulded by the geological intersection of three or the earths intersecting tectonic plates; the source of earthquakes, volcanos and  unstoppable tsunami. And everyone knows "the big one" could happen tomorrow. I once saw an interview with a foreigner who had lived through the Kobe earthquake and filled his bath every night in anticipation of another until he realised "I was worried about yesterday and forgetting to live for tomorrow". So no, at the moment no one is looking to flee. We have tomorrow to look forward to.

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