Disaster struck Japan last week and within a few hours the 3rd largest economy on the globe was in tatters. Its already six days past the day when Japan faced the largest intensity of earthquake till date and still there is no final number of the casualties. Nuclear threat looms large over the country. The horrific and terrifying images of tsunami and devastation on TV makes me shudder and now, I am scared to know the final death toll which can be somewhere in tens of thousands!!
At the same time, its remarkable to notice how some modern cities in Japan like Tokyo are able to survive an earthquake of the scale of 7, and all the buildings and monuments are intact still!! Had this earthquake taken place at any other part of the world, the devastation would have been even enormous and catastrophic. And this is only because of Japan’s preparedness for the earthquake due to the seismic zone it falls under.
Just a few weeks back I was in a discussion on the concept of “post growth economy” propagated by Japan, with a few friends of mine. Increasingly, Japanese economists and politicians were of the view that Japan should stop competing with other economies for the no. 1 spot and instead maintain the status quo – not stagnate – rather, settle into the plateau of ‘enough’. With a high literacy and low crime rate; life expectancy better than almost anywhere on earth – 82 years (as compared to the US’ 78); trains running to the second; unemployment as low as 5%, and enviable levels of inequality. What more could the humble Japanese ask for!! Of course, all these figures of the Japanese economy are prior to the Friday’s disaster. Now, a gigantic task of re-building the economy and infrastructure lies ahead of the Japanese people, an ironically similar situation to that of post World War II, the Hiroshima bombings incident.
Japan has always been looked upon as an economy which is ahead of its time. And one thing we can be sure of is that Japan would again rise from the ashes like a phoenix and surprise the world.
Since last few days I have read first hand accounts of many fellow WordPressers sharing their experiences of the tsunami and the earthquake in Japan. Among them is an optimistic account of an American Mom posting her earthquake experience within split seconds of its occurrence in Tokyo. I am posting her blog link here with her permission.
Many thanks to her! And wish her and everyone out there in Japan, all the strength and courage they need in these trying times.
Once you choose hope, anything’s possible. ~Christopher Reeve