One Year Later

It’s almost been a year since all hell broke loose and the end of times came to the residents of Northern Japan. Last March 11, when the Fukushima Nuclear Plant started to cook off acquaintances and friends started to leave in a panic.  It honestly never even occurred to me to leave. (Read: Leaving Japan is Betrayal?)

Maybe I would have considered leaving if I knew what I know now about how close the plant came to melting down.  How, according to reports just being released, Japanese Prime Minister Kan actually had to order TEPCO to stay and try and keep the plant under control.   If TEPCO had its way and abandoned the plant Tokyo would have been evacuated.  That’s Tokyo’s 30 million people, the population of Canada, all fleeing south.

He credited Mr. Kan with making the right decision in forcing Tepco not to abandon the plant.

“Prime Minister Kan had his minuses and he had his lapses,” Mr. Funabashi said, “but his decision to storm into Tepco and demand that it not give up saved Japan.”
New York Times

But at the time I didn’t really understand how long it would take to shut down the nuclear plant and the amount of radiation that would be released. I guess I just trusted the Japanese government during the time of crisis. But as anyone who has read this blog for a while can attest GaijinAss is not a Japanese apologist site. The Japanese government is a regime that didn’t build dikes big enough to block the tsunami because if they did they would have to admit that the dikes that existed weren’t high enough and nuclear plants weren’t safe. This is a Japanese government famous for robotics yet prevented companies from developing nuclear disaster robots because the existence of nuclear disaster robots would have admitted that nuclear meltdown was possible.

experts claim the government was previously unwilling to finance projects to develop robots that could be used during a nuclear accident, fearing such a move might imply that a nuclear disaster was possible and cause the public to question the safety of atomic plants.

Japan Times

I live outside the nuclear sacrifice zone, 200km away in Tokyo, and I have no control over the nuclear plant and its radioactive emissions. I have friends and acquaintances that can’t handle this “threat” and are constantly stressed about it, willing to give up everything to get away.  I honestly believe that the stress caused by radiation is many times more harmful than than any “threat” radiation actually causes. Already in one year over 1300 people have died due to stress related to 311 disaster. It really blows me away when I hear people talking about leaving Japan because they’re worried about either another earthquake or the radiation threat … Really?

I once read that scientists did a study on living next to a old hydrodam that had serious structural damage and had a high risk of breaking and killing everyone downstream. The scientists did a survey and found that the further away from the Dam they got the more people got stressed out. Those right next to the Dam had no fears while those hundreds of kilometers away stressed about it everyday. So maybe that is me always so close to something that I can’t see the danger.

And there is a danger.  “Experts in Japan have warned that the chances of a powerful earthquake striking Tokyo in the next four years could be as high as 70%.”  (Read: 5 ways to survive the aftermath of the Great Tokyo earthquake) Yet I’m not planning my exit.  If a quake hits Tokyo it would be devasting the last time a major quake hit the 1923 Great Kanto earthquake basically leveled the city. Obviously modern Tokyo, with its strict earthquake design codes, is much better position to handle an earthquake now than say Vancouver, Canada or San Francisco which both have a similar earthquake threats.

The total destruction after the 1923 Great Kantō earthquake

I live in a new building that will withstand a major quake but there is something else, I almost want to live through a major disaster.  A part of me wants the earthquake to happen….

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