Exactly a week after the 9.0 magnitude and tsunami in northern Japan, I found myself landing in Shanghai, a city which is a mere 2 hours flight from Tokyo. Flights, I was told, are full for those trying to get out of Tokyo. It's a hectic exodus for many foreigners who study, live or vacationing in Japan. Foreign companies are chartering flights to get their staff out, no matter what the cost is!
So, the potential danger? Radiation! Yes, we heard of it on the news for the last few days. Everyone is afraid of getting cancer as a result of exposure to radiation! Even the Chinese in China have now wiped out all the iodized salt from the shelves in the supermarkets! How ridiculous that is! But in times of panic, people do weird things. Just like those Singaporeans who hoarded rice back then during the Iraq attack of Kuwait! Granted, salt is not that costly to hoard but to think it's going to save you from cancer?! Ha! If only the solution is that simple, Japanese leaders won't be cracking their heads now!
I kept reading about those who are sacrificing their lives to work around the clock at the sites where radiation might ultimately kill them. In some ways, I feel disconnected. It's like something that's so far away and yet I marvel at their sense of duty and professionalism. These are people who are trying to help while there are others who think nothing but themselves. For many, life goes on as per normal. If you are living far from Japan and are not directly affected by it in any way, like those in Libya, the pressing issue is more local. So, while the White House is planning to help the Japanese, it is also planning for air strikes?! Interesting, isn't it? I don't know what to make of the world nowadays.
From the economic standpoint, these 2 pressures are not good for the world though. While the foreigners are leaving Japan, Japanese are liquidating their portfolios and investments abroad to bring back funds to save themselves. The Yen has soared to historical new highs while the USD tumbles. Now, you can only get some 76 yen for a $! You heard me right, the country is having problems but the Yen is not dropping. Instead, it is skyrocketing! Instability in Libya and the whole of Middle East, recently reported Bahrain is also turning into a hot spot, will pressurize the prices of gas to new high. So, those in New York are speculating like crazy in the financial arena. Interesting, isn't it?
Well, if you're driving to work, you can no longer feel disconnected from the world events, can you? Clearly, if our country decide to ration our use of electricity, we would be more inclined to see how the Japanese are doing, aren't we? Granted, there are times when we are tempted to look away because it's a depressing situation and we do feel helpless in many ways. Reading about someone's plight can be hard especially if you feel deeply for poor souls. And many, as I sometime do, take the easy way out... by not looking and thinking too much about it! That is one of the way we deal with stresses in life.
So, what can we do really? Yes, life goes on for majority of us and even for the Japanese. But, life should not go on as if nothing had happened. It's not how we can help (with donations or whatever contributions) the Japanese with that should be sufficient but rather what we take out of this event that should matter. How we should treat the environment, the world and the people in it, that should be the lessons of the day, isn't it? Panic is natural, but panic without even using our brain and create more distress in the world we live in... we can do without!
Going to Japan for the next few months is not a viable solution. It is not good for the Japanese who have problems of their own to cope with and also not good for someone who doesn't speak their language and end up a burden during this difficult period. Granted, the Japanese will need help in rebuilding and those who can truly help, by all means, help! As for the other people, staying put and staying sane are the best option :-)
I remembered back when I was a child, there was a Japanese tv series titled "The Sinking of Japan" (A movie was later made in 2006, I believe). We love it so much so we were glued to the tv whenever the series was on. When I saw what happened to Sendai this afternoon (a city I had once visited), instinctively, THE SINKING OF JAPAN came to mind. Yes, I spent an afternoon following the news and images. Clearly, seeing it on the news is a vast difference from experiencing it live. The one … more
Now that the Japanese Yen has skyrocketed to an all time high against the US$, what are the raminifications for the world at large? Japan is after all the 2nd largest economy in the world for the majority of the last few decades, until recently overtaken by China. Japanese have a great deal of investments (direct or indirect) in the world. Japanese also holds a lot of treasury bills. This has the world at large trembling with fears as to what the Japanese would do … more
8.9 Earthquake in Japan and Asian Tsunami
Across the Pacific By: Dr. Joseph S. Maresca
An 8.9 earthquake ( Richter scale) hit Honshu, Japan earlier today . There was tremendous
devastation everywhere. The last major event of this size in Asia was on
12-16- 1920 in Gansu , China. 200,000 people died in the Gansu earthquake.
The actual loss of life in Japan may not be known for weeks. The biggest
By Dr. Joseph S. Maresca 8.9 Earthquake in Japan and Asian Tsunami Across the Pacific An 8.9 earthquake (Richter scale) hit Honshu, Japan just hours ago. There was tremendous devastation everywhere. The last major event of this size in Asia was on 12-16-1920 in Gansu, China. 200,000 people died in the Gansu earthquake. The actual loss of life in Japan may not be known for weeks. The biggest concern in Japan right now is the impact on nuclear power plants in the country. Reactors … more
As if an 8.9 magnitude earthquake and a 23 foot tsunami were not enough the people of Japan now have to deal with the potential fallout from a massive explosion that has rocked the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant. It is not yet clear whether massive levels of radiation have been released into the atmosphere. This powerful blast has the potential to exacerbate the problem many times over and put millions more people at risk. Please join me in praying that this turns out not to be … more
For an earthquake of that magnitude, it hasn't wrecked as much havoc as it could have. The blessing lies in that it hits not the most populated area of Tokyo but Sendai instead. Yes, the tsunami caused financial damages insofar that a lot of farmlands are wiped out. Hopefully, as of now, it is not one that rivals that of the 2004 tsunami! Death tolls have climbed to 1598 (Monday) with 9500 unaccounted for in one city. It's total destruction in some areas in Sendai and nearby cities.
The 2011 Sendai, Japan earthquake was an 8.9 magnitude earthquake. It was located off the east coast of Tohoku, Japan on Friday, March 11, 2011 at 05:46:23 UTC at a depth of 24.4 km (15.2 miles). Originally a 7.9, it was upgraded to an 8.8, then again to an 8.9 by the United States Geological Survey.
The earthquake occurred on 130 km (80 miles) east of Sendai, Honshu, Japan. It presented a possibility of triggering tsunami in the area as well as in Yoshi, Japan. The quake rattled buildings and toppled cars off bridges and into waters underneath. In Tokyo, crowds huddled together and tried to reach relatives via cell phone. Its epicenter was 373 kilometers (231 miles) from Tokyo, the United States Geological Survey said. A 7.7 aftershock was reported 30 minutes following the initial quake. As a result of the quake, smoke could be seen rising from a building in Tokyo port while Shinkansen bullet trains stopped and Haneda Airport suspended operation after the quake struck.
More than 4 million buildings lost power, and many buildings caught fire.
The earthquake triggered a tsunami warning for Japan's pacific coast and various other countries, including Russia, Guam, Philippines, Indonesia, Papua Guinea, Nauru, Hawaii, northern Marinas and Taiwan. The tsunami warning issued by Japan was the most serious on its warning scale, implying that the wave was expected to be 10 meters high. A 0.5 meter high wave hit Japan's northern coast.