I seem to have only posted negative things about the situation in Japan, so this post is an attempt to be positive. This post is really a list for myself.
The first, most obvious positive is: the Fukushima nuclear plant has not exploded.
The US Military support in Japan has been extensive, and unlike most foreign aid that is now arriving, the US military aid has been in Japan since the beginning. This article offers a comprehensive list of all US military missions conducted, or to be conducted. Rather than “running the show like they usually do in a disaster zone, U.S. troops are taking cues from the Japanese on how to assist in recovery efforts in the heart of the tsunami-ravaged coastline“. This aid has not gone unnoticed by the Japanese people: In a e-mail I saw, forwarded to my mate from his father’s business account days after the Sendai earthquake:
“Lastly, I as a Japanese really appreciate the help from your government. American troops and some war ships now arrived close to my home town. They are working hard to help the people over there. They knew there is the risk of exposure to radiation, but they came. I can’t express how much I appreciate that.”
Admiral Robert Willard has stated he is willing to send troops “into the danger zone” to assist the Japanese Defense force, however he is “cautiously optimistic” that the Japanese can handle cooling the plant themselves. Reuters states the US Military will not “be called into the most affected areas around the plant.”
This positive is a direct outcome of WWII, as the US wouldn’t be stationed in Japan if it wasn’t for the Treaty of Francisco. Normally I advocate the shuttering of military bases overseas, but in this one instance, I have to make an exception. Though – we shouldn’t keep our bases open around the world just so we can help if there is a natural disaster – I am not advocating that.
The Japanese people have remained calm. The sense of community at the Japanese refugee centers is heartwarming: children and women cook and clean, and men go into town to wait in lines for food and water.
“As far as I can tell, people around Tokyo are very calm and haven’t heard any strange rumors. Avoiding panic is the benefit for all, and people seem to understand that.”
And it’s that message that is apparently getting lost in translation as the outside media cover the events in Japan, particularly the nuclear situation.
“CNN seems to be reporting ‘people leaving from Tokyo’ and Tokyo becoming a ‘ghost town,’ but it seems that it’s a bit overemphasized,” he wrote.
via Melony Plenda’s “Student reports from Japan: People remain calm“
Here is a picture of a younger man helping an older man carry supplies. The New Yorker even mentioned the lack of looting and government exploitation. I would like to think that if something like this happened in the United States, Americans would refrain from looting and rioting, but past natural disasters show otherwise.
Internet comments have stated the calmness of the Japanese is a direct result of their community spirit and culture, sentiments echoed in The New Yorker article linked above.
Japan has the most technologically advanced earthquake detection and broadcast system in the world. This system undoubtedly saved lives.
The video above includes a frantic news producer yelling directions.
Japanese skyscrapers were built to withstand earthquakes and no engineered buildings have collapsed.
This list will be updated should I find out/read about other positives regarding the Japanese 2011 earthquake-tsunami-nuclear crisis.
EDIT: The internet is telling me all these anti-Japanese sentiments began with a Family Guy staff writer’s joke tweet. He deleted the tweet and apologized, though other Americans might actually mean it as evident by their Facebook vitriol?
The last 48 hours for Japan have been rough: two earthquakes, a tsunami, and fears of nuclear meltdown.
A logical, possible explanation? A solar flare.
Some cesspoolian Americans, however, viewed these natural phenomena as the work of a spiritual deity. These Americans believe the universe was angry at Japan for Pearl Harbor, and decided to wait more than 50 years to dish out karmic justice. Except these Americans didn’t say it like that. More like: “Fuck Japan! Remember Pearl Harbor? Karma’s a bitch!” Yeah.
When I think of all the Americans that never learned of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, my forehead wrinkles with worry. No Child Left Behind is doing a worse job than we imagined!
If I had to pick a country, between the United States and Japan, that would get karmic retribution for actions in World War II, I’d pick the United States (body count, occupation). If I were to follow the Facebooking-karmic-justice-Americans logic, where nature takes it upon herself to punish man for the things he does to his fellow man, I’d have to assume that Katrina, the tornadoes tearing up the midwest, the BP Oil Spill (why not?) and every other natural catastrophe to hit the states EVER, is retribution for things America did in prior wars. Or am I being silly here, because America don’t have to worry about karmic retribution? I don’t know the rules to this karma-blame-game… maybe America is exempt.
But what about New Zealand? Following the logic stated above, one could argue the Christchurch earthquake happened because of the Anglo-Maori wars centuries ago. And the flooding in Australia? Oh, the universe is always punishing that country – they’re a country of criminals, you see?
But really, why Pearl Harbor?
My hypothesis: the film “Pearl Harbor” played recently (ahem, on repeat for a week) on some cable channel, making the battle of Pearl Harbor fresh in commonplace American minds. These Americans heard the world “Japan” on the news, and were like, “I just watched a movie with Ben Affleck, and that tsunami country bombed us in the movie! Serves them right, durrr, derr.”
(I don’t know if “Pearl Harbor” aired recently, but this makes me think my idea has merit…)
CLOSING EDIT: That joke flew over my head and now I feel silly. Perhaps all those Facebook people were really imitating Alec Sulkin. Reddit does not know this yet, nor does Viceland.com, linked above. (3:30pm CST)