Archive for ‘Earthquakes in Japan’

September 6, 2012

Remembering the fashion sector after the tragic tsunami which killed over 19,000 people

Remembering the fashion sector after the tragic tsunami which killed over 19,000 people 

Michel Lebon, Sarah Deschamps and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The events of March 11, 2011, in Japan will forever be etched into the memory of this nation because of the utter devastation that followed. Over 19,000 people perished because of the tsunami which followed the 9.0 magnitude earthquake. Therefore, this event is now embedded within the psyche of Japan and this applies to both the trauma and the response to such devastation.

Internationally, countless nations supported Japan and likewise individuals, charities, organizations and various sectors gave generously to help the people who were hit the hardest. The fashion industry within Japan and outside of this country also supported the people of Tohoku. Likewise, the nuclear shadow meant that many people in the surrounding areas were also worried about this aspect. Given this reality, local fashion companies in Tokyo and other cities provided not only material support but also emotional support.

In Tokyo for example you had the Mighty Harajuku Project which was the brainchild of Sebastian Masuda (6% DOKIDOKI). While internationally powerful fashion houses responded to the tsunami in many different ways in order to support the people of Japan.

Often the fashion industry is portrayed to be “one dimensional” but clearly this sector is far from “one dimensional.” On the contrary, many within the fashion sector responded with care and sincerity. Giorgio Armani, and many other famous people within the fashion sector, showed the “heart of fashion” to the people of Japan.

Indeed, the deep shock of the tsunami and the enormous loss of life encouraged Giorgio Armani to show his deep respect of Japan. He did this during the Paris Fashion Week show in July of last year. During this major fashion event Giorgio Armani incorporated aspects of Japanese culture within his adorable designs.

In an earlier article by Modern Tokyo Times it was stated that “Funds being donated by Armani are much appreciated and the same applies to other famous fashion designers who have done so much to support the people of Japan. Often people only see a single dimension towards fashion and this applies to enhancing beauty.”

“Armani’s exclusive haute couture collection (Fall/Winter 2011-2012) during the Paris Fashion Week highlighted the rich heritage of Japan.  His amazing designs focused on dresses being based on the kimono-style, elegant floral prints on exquisite silk, kanzashi, elements of geisha, and other unique images of Japanese symbols were fused within the stunning Armani collection.”

It may appear that fashion and the tsunami are a million miles apart and in terms of what happened on this tragic day, then this is true. However, in other areas both events came together because fashion helped many people during the psychological stress process and lack of confidence related to the nuclear crisis. Therefore, fashion for many people was “therapeutic” and a way of fighting back against so much trauma and despondency.

Financially, then all economic support was welcomed because many communities were devastated by the brutal tsunami. Alongside the financial aspect was a feeling that other people all over the world truly cared about the plight of people who had been hit the hardest. Once more this helped in the area of psychology.

In the past Japan had been a place for famous international brands to “make hay” and since this tragic event the fashion sector is once more buzzing in this country. In this sense, many international fashion companies and individuals were highlighting their deep appreciation related to past and current connections which remain strong. Giorgio Armani commented that he had been “profoundly moved by the tragic events” related to March 11, 2011.

Giorgio Armani’s fashion show titled the Hommage au Japon meant that his entire fashion collection highlighted the natural beauty of Japanese culture within amazing styles. This genuine warmth was appreciated deeply within the fashion sector in Japan and among lay people who adore the fashion sector. Like usual, the collection highlighted the panache of the individual who created such a stunning fashion display.

Overall, many within the international fashion sector showed their love of Japan by providing many different types of support. This applies to economic support, psychological factors, a collective feeling of humanity, showing the people of Japan that they weren’t alone during this tragic period and in other vital areas.

March 5, 2012

Ari TV is the Voice of Sendai: Responding to the tragedy of the tsunami by being tenacious

Ari TV is the Voice of Sendai: Responding to the tragedy of the tsunami by being tenacious

Pierre Leblanc and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Ari TV ( is a clear reminder about the tenacity of the Tohoku region which was badly hit by the devastating tsunami of March 11, 2011. Therefore, with the first anniversary getting nearer to March 11, 2012, it is important to highlight this media group for all the positive things that they have done.

Since the devastating 9.0-magnitude earthquake which unleashed the brutal tsunami, this media group dug deep in order to undercover the “real stories.” This applies to highlighting the determination of the Tohoku region and how the people of Sendai have responded.

Also, because Ari TV is based in Sendai then clearly this media group can connect with local people. More important, unlike many mass media outlets who often enter and highlight an important story which is happening in Sendai, Ari TV is their around the clock. This fact enables Ari TV to express the “real feelings” of the local community and clearly strong bonds have been developed whereby this media group is informed at all times about local events, individuals who are fantastic role models, companies who are focused on regeneration, and organizations trying to help.

Ari TV ( also understood the international concerns after the devastating tsunami. Therefore, the introduction of the Tohoku Revival Calendar which is highlighted above was a nice touch because you can read continuous updates in English and Japanese. This aspect also highlights rebirth because clearly Ari TV is developing new international links.

It is equally vital that Ari TV is supported commercially because you have so much work to do in Sendai and throughout the Tohoku region. After all, sadly, you still have thousands of missing people in early 2012 and this aspect highlights the complete devastation of March 11, 2011. This also means that the nightmare goes on for many because you have no “closure” and “special grave” to visit and connect.

Therefore, it is essential that the local government, the central government, local businesses, businesses throughout Japan, and others, support Ari TV and all the positive work they do around the clock. After all, Ari TV can reach “local people” because this media group is fully interwoven with Sendai and the Tohoku region. Also, Sendai is the main city in Tohoku with regards to population and a healthy Sendai is vital for the regional economy.

In the photo above which was published on March 2, 2012, Ari TV is highlighting the regeneration of a shopping mall. However, unlike the glitzy areas of modern day Japan the brutal reality of the tsunami is visible in this image. Yet despite the clear limitations currently available to this shopping mall and having to move into housed shopping containers; locals don’t view the same image because to them this is a sign of rebirth and the start of a long process to normality.

Takano from Ari TV comments that “The big revival shopping area “South Sanriku SanSan Mall” opened in South Sanriku town, Miyagi, on February 25th. These shops are temporarily housed in shipping containers. The name comes from the people’s desire to make a mall filled with smiles and energy (which is) bright like the shining sun.”

In an early article by Modern Tokyo Times the “Suzuki Farm Harvest” was highlighted and this applies to the tenaciousness of Mr. Suzuki (photo above). He fully understood that salt water had damaged the fields and it appeared impossible to regenerate in such a short period of time, if at all. However, Mr. Suzuki was adamant that he would overcome all the obstacles in front of him and this set of a chain reaction whereby local people gave him the support he needed.

This moving story is one of many by Ari TV and this is why this media group needs support. After all, Ari TV is part of the community that they represent and because they are based “on the ground,” then they can highlight unique events.

Please support Ari TV by watching their many programs in Japanese providing you are a Japanese speaker. Also, if you main language is English or it is your second language then please view the Tohoku Revival CalendarIrrespective of language, Ari TV can build bridges throughout the local community and wider Tohoku region and also internationally. Therefore, Ari TV is “the voice of Sendai.” Tohoku Revival Calendar – English Version Ari TV – Please contact for more information.!/re_tohoku_en – Please contact for more information Tohoku Revival Calendar – Japanese version

January 22, 2012

The Voice of Sendai and Ari TV: helping the community to overcome March 11

The Voice of Sendai and Ari TV: helping the community to overcome March 11

Michel Lebon and Lee Jay Walker 

Modern Tokyo Times

Ari TV ( at the heart of Sendai and the surrounding region because this company is providing a positive image and covers local issues. This media outlet is determined to show the people of Japan and the international community, that while the March 11 tsunami took far too many lives and destroyed much of the infrastructure, it didn’t break the spirit of the people who were hit hard by this tragic event.

Therefore, Takayuki Sato!/re_tohoku_en (Tak) and everybody at Ari TV are showing the determination of a region which is not only battling against adversity, it is doing so by focusing on the future and helping to bring fresh hope. Of course, every individual associated with Ari TV fully understands the pain and suffering which took place on March 11. However, like a phoenix rising from the ashes this media outlet wants to highlight determination, rebuilding, fresh ideas, a strong community spirit, and to show how tenacious the local people are in facing and overcoming such a tragedy.

In the photo above Tomomi Hama of Ari-TV visited a performance arts event called “Suzume Odori.” The event was held in Tokushima and Tomomi Hama highlights the fact that this city is a sister city of Sendai. Also, the people of Tokushima city have helped the people of Sendai and other areas greatly since March 11 and this shows the strong bond between local people.

The next photo highlights “Coming of Age Day” and this event is very important in Japan. Takano of Ari TV reports that 12,000 people attended this event in Sendai and that the atmosphere was electric. This image is extremely heartwarming because it shows the next generation of Sendai who need to be tenacious and play an important role in the future of the Tohoku region. Also, the image shows three beautiful ladies smiling in traditional costumes and they all look stylish and elegant.

In the next image ( above is the stunning view of Naruko and Ono, a director at Ari-TV, clearly adores this part of Japan. Therefore, Ono is clearly focused on showing this special place and a lovely video was done which shows many positive features. Given this, if you adore nature and want to refresh yourself afterwards by visiting Naruko Hot Spa, then why not take a break in Naruko and help the local economy?

The next photo ( children at San Jose Japanese School in Costa Rica. Mr. Kinya Morita who works at this school is showing the international concern for people who lost so much. Therefore, these children are expressing their love and warm feelings towards people whom they have never met.

In the image above are Ken Watanabe and Tomoyuki Takimoto who is a film director. Ken Watanabe is an internationally acclaimed actor and since the devastating events of March 11, it is abundantly clear that he shared in the pain and now he is involved in the regeneration. Shinichiro Takano from Ari TV mentions that both individuals have been touring around Tohoku in order to highlight the film called “Hayabusa -Harukanaru Kikan” which will be released on February 11, 2012, in this part of Japan. The host of the premiere in Miyagi was Tomomi Hama from Ari TV.

The following photo above highlights the tenaciousness of “Suzuki Farm Harvest.” It is clear that Tak from Ari TV was overwhelmed by such dedication because Mr. Suzuki fully understood that salt water had damaged the fields. However, he was adamant that he would overcome everything and local people gave him the support and help he needed. Like Tak comments, they “finally made it! Isn’t it amazing?”

These images highlight aspects of Ari TV and in another article about this media outlet it was stated by Modern Tokyo Times that It is essential that Ari TV is supported because Takayuki Sato (Tak) and everybody at Ari TV desire to help the local community. Therefore, Ari TV is a lifeline to many people in Sendai and Miyagi prefecture and advertisement, sponsorship, viewing, and helping this company grow in many other ways, is needed because Sendai suffered greatly and this city is very powerful in the region of Tohoku.”

Therefore, please support Ari TV by viewing their websites and seeing daily images and videos of Sendai and the surrounding region. After all, Ari TV is the voice of Sendai and the calendar is also in English in order for the international community to view and read about recent events.  Tohoku Revival Calendar – English Version Ari TV  – Please contact for more information.!/re_tohoku_en – Please contact for more information Tohoku Revival Calendar – Japanese version

All images belong to Ari TV

December 20, 2011

Sendai Pageant of Starlight from Ari TV: images since the Tsunami of March 11

Sendai Pageant of Starlight from Ari TV: images since the Tsunami of March 11

Michel Le Bon and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Ari TV is at the heart of Sendai and the “Sendai Pageant of Starlight” which is currently on show, is creating a lovely atmosphere and the event finishes late on December 31. Therefore, you have multitudes of stunning lights which re-awakens the “child” within and for children the scenery is magical and is a place where dreams are made.

If you click onto ( this video by Ari TV then you can see that Sendai is glowing in the spirit of hope and joy. This image is especially powerful this year because of the potent tsunami which killed tens of thousands of people and destroyed so much of the infrastructure. However, the “Sendai Pageant of Starlight” is like Ari TV in many ways because it is based on joy, hope, and provides a fitting place to visit before the start of a new year.

This year is especially difficult for people throughout areas of Japan which were hit by the potent tsunami. Therefore, the lights in Sendai are bringing an extra glow this year and they are a clear reminder that this city, and other places which were badly hit, is fighting back and bracing itself for a new year.

If we step back, and turn back to the fateful day of March 11, 2011, then Ari TV continued to show “the real picture” of Sendai. The image below shows the shocking reality of March 11 which swept away so many people. Also, this image is a reminder of the deadly power of nature and how events can change quickly.

The following image below ( which was entered on March 23 by Ari TV is an amazing image. This applies to the smiling faces of four young boys who are enjoying the simple pleasures of life despite the devastation that their eyes witnessed. This image by Ari TV is a million times more powerful than the daily news of famous international media outlets which dwelled on sadness and utter devastation.

In many ways, this is the philosophy of Ari TV because while everybody at this media outlet understands the utter devastation that took place and the grief and sadness which entailed – this company also understood the need for regeneration and fighting back against the adversity of nature which killed so many people.

This image was ( uploaded on March 18 and again Ari TV is highlighting the spirit of humanity. After all, all you can see is utter devastation but despite everything this gentleman is carrying a cat with complete care.

The following image ( uploaded on June 24 is a clear reminder that many people are still without proper homes and that Sendai and many other areas need massive financial support.

On September 10 ( you have a stunning image of two young girls playing in the sea. In the background you have a lovely skyline and unlike the chaos of March 11, the sea is once more a place of pleasure. Therefore, this image is showing you the serene nature of the sea where children play and enjoy.

The next image ( uploaded on October 30 shows local people playing music. Also, they are dressed in costumes which show that continuity is in full flow. This once more signifies the power of the local community and that normality is essential despite all the problems that the region faces.

The next image ( is tinged with great sadness because local people and the Buddhist priest are praying for children who have died. Dolls and other toys have been hanged up and this image takes you back to the terrible suffering of March 11. This image was uploaded on November 12 and the power of this photo is clear for all to see because it is a grim reminder that so many children died.

Finally the last highlighted area of this article ( of Sendai is a video taken on December 9. In this video you see a Sendai at peace and lovely lights which highlight the positive nature of this city. However, Ari TV and local people know that many challenges are still to be faced but the spirit remains strong and growing.

It is essential that Ari TV is supported because Takayuki Sato (Tak) and everybody at Ari TV desire to help the local community. Therefore, Ari TV is a lifeline to many people in Sendai and Miyagi prefecture and advertisement, sponsorship, viewing, and helping this company grow in many other ways, is needed because Sendai suffered greatly and this city is very powerful in the region of Tohoku.

Turning back to the “Sendai Pageant of Starlight” then this is a great way for people in Japan to support the region by visiting this fantastic display. However, in the long-term, it is essential that local businesses are supported. The same applies to the local media which is very powerful within the community.

Therefore, stay tune to local events by clicking onto the website below and enjoy Ari TV which is reaching out to local people and showing a positive image to the international community. Ari TV

[Tohoku Revival Calendar]-Japanese version   – Please contact for more information.!/re_tohoku_en – Please contact for more information

December 3, 2011

Christmas gifts for kids in Japan who suffered from March 11 tsunami

Christmas gifts for kids in Japan who suffered from March 11 tsunami

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The Daily Yomiuri (The Yomiuri Shimbun) newspaper covered an important story relating to sending gifts to children who suffered so much because of the brutal tsunami and earthquake which struck Japan on March 11. Therefore, please support this initiative and email in order to find out more from this nonprofit organization (NPO) based in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture.

The NPO behind this initiative is trying to provide a nice Christmas for children who have lost so much and seen things well beyond their years. Gifts will be accepted until December 19 and they will be delivered to children who are based in nursery centers because of the utter devastation of the tsunami which hit Japan on March 11.

In an earlier article by Modern Tokyo Times we highlighted the tragedy of events in Ishinomaki related to the single biggest loss of life of children in one place. Therefore, two articles focused on the Okawa Elementary School in Ishinomaki where 74 children died out of 108.

In this article it was commented that The Okawa Elementary School in Ishinomaki is where the single most devastating loss of life for children occurred. Of the 108 children who went to Okawa Elementary School a staggering 74 children were swept away by the brutal March 11 tsunami. The cries of pain were intense and sadly by late September four children still had not been found and the search continues.”

“Tens of thousands of people were killed by the 9.0-magnitude earthquake which unleashed such a potent and deadly tsunami on March 11. Therefore, it may appear insensitive to highlight one single tragedy when so many tragedies occurred. However, the death of so many children “hits you deep inside.”

Therefore, the NPO in Ishinomaki is trying to bring a little cheer to children who have suffered greatly and to bring a smile back to their faces. Of course, the central government and local governments in areas hit by the tsunami have being working around the clock in order to alleviate the suffering and pain of so many. However, the sheer magnitude of the crisis means that it will take a long-time in order to restructure devastated areas but many positive strides have been made.

Yet the psychological damage done to hundreds of thousands of people will take a long time and sadly, for many who have lost so much, then some individuals will be like “ghosts in a shell.” Therefore, it is essential that adequate support is provided to all and clearly children who are in nursery centers and other facilities, need special attention because they are the future.

Also, children should never be underestimated because often many respond with great tenacity. However, the death of parents, friends, neighbors, and the trauma of witnessing the brutal and devastating tsunami will remain to be “a deep scar.” This fact means that it is essential that children see the “love of humanity” because events in early life often relate to emotional and financial stability in later life.

Therefore, please contact for further information and help bring a smile to children who have lost so much.

Also, please check this web link because The Daily Yomiuri (The Yomiuri Shimbun) is one of the most respected newspapers in Japan. NPO in ISHINOMAKI to send Christmas gifts to children

November 16, 2011

Economic growth in Japan but external factors remain troublesome

Economic growth in Japan but external factors remain troublesome

Joachim de Villiers and Lee Jay Walker 

Modern Tokyo Times

The economy of Japan despite all the scaremongering continues to show great resilience and this is despite many massive internal and external factors. Of course, the events that unfolded on March 11 led to major economic convulsions and the loss of life was enormous but on top of this is also the global economic situation. Therefore, for Japan to rebound when America and the European Union are suffering so much is also remarkable.

Tens of thousands of people died because of the potent and deadly tsunami which was unleashed by the 9.0-magnitude earthquake. This was followed by a huge nuclear cloud which hung over Japan and the mass media didn’t help. Therefore, many embassy staff fled alongside foreign nationals and this uncertainty put enormous strains on the economy.

Also, for major manufacturing companies who were based in the areas hit by the earthquake and tsunami, it was essential to restructure and solve the huge cog in the machinery which was hindering the supply chain. However, corporate Japan and the government pumped vast sums into the economy and the banking system. Therefore, a huge capital base was built in order for Japanese companies to obtain funds internally (applies to companies hit by March 11) and also to expand internationally because of the strong yen.

Not only this, the weakness of the American dollar and the Euro meant that exporters would have been hit badly during natural economic events. Yet despite everything, including typhoon Talas which killed many in Wakayama and other prefectures, Japan’s economy is showing signs of economic growth and a rebound was announced.

This applies to gross domestic product growing by 1.5% and while the government of Japan can’t rest on these laurels, it is still a remarkable achievement given the reality of 2011 in Japan. Of course, the ill-winds of America and the European Union will continue to hinder further economic progress but a base is being built and stability is the first step after such internal disasters this year related to nature.

In an earlier article by Modern Tokyo Times it was stated that If you want to study about the uniqueness of Japanese capitalism and how companies respond to enormous adverse conditions, then the Tankan survey by the Bank of Japan will make you fully aware. After all, the devastation caused by March 11 and the ongoing crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant would have caused most nations to bow down to mass uncertainty.  However, welcome to corporate Japan where the response may seem slow but once the juggernaut starts, then it eats into the crisis and returns to normal.”

“Let us also remember that unemployment in America remains within the 9% range to just below 10% despite enormous debt borrowing and having no internal devastating consequences to face.  Also, remember, that the dollar is very weak and should be helping exporters but in Japan the opposite is happening because the yen is too strong and causing many problems.”

“However, unemployment in Japan is falling despite all these negatives to below 4.5% and it is Japan and not America which is trying to help the European Union and crisis hit Greece.  This applies to buying more Eurobonds and making it fully aware that Japan will step in and help Greece providing a sound economic policy is put on the table.”

Therefore, the announcement that Japan’s economy is picking up is remarkable given the adverse conditions but sadly the economic situation isn’t out of the woods. This applies to external factors like the high yen; the sluggish global economy; recent floods in Thailand hindering Japanese companies with regards to the supply chain; the ensuing crisis in Europe and the “Euro cloud;” and other factors.

If the global economy was in a healthier condition and the international exchange rates of major currencies were based on realism; then Japan would have more hope for optimism. However, it is hard to imagine other nations rebounding so quickly from such a traumatic event and for this fact alone it is clear that Japan can recover quickly from major internal convulsions.

The next quarter may show that all is not well because of external factors and consumer spending internally remains problematic. Yet the scaremongering of the demise of Japan can be seen for what it was.


November 1, 2011

Paying Homage to the Spirit of Japan seen in the Fukushima 50

Paying Homage to the Spirit of Japan seen in the “Fukushima 50”

James Jomo and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The March 11 earthquake which triggered the brutal and devastating tsunami which in turn created the nuclear crisis in Fukushima remains vivid in the memory. This tragic day will never be forgotten in Japan and the same applies to the international community which witnessed the tragic events which followed.

Sadly, despite enormous reconstruction and redevelopment taking place in the worse effected areas you still have many ongoing problems. This applies to the nuclear facility in Fukushima and radiation issues which remain, to more natural daily issues of people living in temporary accommodation and trying to find employment.

Any government in the world hit by this tragic event would be challenged to the full and in fairness to Japan, a lot of support mechanisms have been put into place but of course for people hit by this tragic event then so much more is needed.

In the midst of the nuclear crisis you had the “Fukushima 50” who did everything in their power to prevent a nuclear meltdown. These brave souls should never be forgotten because during the height of the crisis they worked day and night and at any time they could have been killed. Also, the reality of radiation means that we still don’t know if many of these brave souls will die from cancer in the future caused by radiation.

Irrespective if you are anti-nuclear, pro-nuclear or you believe that nuclear energy is a practical choice, it is clear that the “Fukushima 50” deserve the support of everybody. While alarming comments were being made and very natural dangers could have killed all members of the “Fukushima 50,” they merely got on with everything and worked around the clock in order to protect local citizens and to prevent a complete nuclear meltdown.

In an earlier article by Modern Tokyo Times which was published on March 18 it was commented that “Images of Fukushima have spread all over the world but the people who are trying to prevent a nuclear meltdown remain faceless and out of sight.  Therefore, they have been named the “Fukushima 50” in honor of their valor and loyalty to the cause.”

“All members of the “Fukushima 50” understand that death awaits them if the internal conditions become uncontrollable.  However, for the “Fukushima 50” they are thinking about the people of Japan and they understand that they are in the frontline and that if they perish, then countless others will follow from the worst case scenario.”

“Of course you will have tens of thousands of other “faceless individuals” who are giving everything in order to help people and many are working in dangerous and terrible conditions.  In this sense, but not from the personal danger that the “Fukushima 50” face; the “Fukushima 50” represent all individuals who are working against the clock in order to help the people of Japan.”

The article was written within 7 days of the March 11 tragedy and being based in Tokyo then Modern Tokyo Times tried its best to support Japan. After all, many embassies were closed and many people left Tokyo in panic. However, at all times the core of Modern Tokyo Times remained in the heart of Tokyo and visits were also made to Fukushima and other areas hit.

However, unlike the “Fukushima 50,” we had the luxury of being based far away and the admiration of these brave souls can’t be overstated. After all, how many people would risk their-own-skin in the face of so much carnage? This collectively applies to the knowledge that the high radiation may give you cancer in the future or that at any time the plant could have just blown up completely.

In the “valley of death” the “Fukushima 50” walked tall and showed the beauty of humanity. 

It matters not if you are pro-nuclear or anti-nuclear; the real issue is their bravery, dedication and giving everything in order to protect the people who reside in Japan.

They must never be forgotten because unlike the “heroes on television” who are actors and actresses, the “Fukushima 50” are real heroes and in the “valley of death” they never flinched.

October 25, 2011

Tsunami of March 11: elderly deaths extremely high and history ignored

Tsunami of March 11: elderly deaths extremely high and history ignored

James Jomo and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The Japanese police released vital information about the devastating tsunami which hit Japan. This applies to how deaths occurred and the age group which suffered the most. Therefore, this information needs to be studied carefully and adequate measures are needed in order to protect the vulnerable.

Of course, no nation knows when and where a natural disaster will strike but fault-lines and vulnerable areas which are prone to natural disasters are known.  Therefore, certain precautions can be taken in order to reduce the death toll when a major earthquake and tsunami strikes.

It is apparent from the findings by the Japanese police that elderly citizens who reside in danger zones need to be helped to a much higher degree. If no action is taken then history will merely repeat itself in the future and issues related to costs must not enter the equation.  Local governments and the central government must work together alongside appropriate agencies in order to protect and help the most vulnerable who reside in danger zones.

The Japanese police confirmed that over 90 per cent of people died from drowning after the violent earthquake unleashed a destructive and deadly tsunami.  This figure was expected because images of the tsunami show the speed and destructiveness of nature. 

One statistic which is of great significance is that the greatest loss of life occurred to people who were aged over 60 years old. People in this bracket group accounted for 65% off all deaths related to the tsunami. Therefore, when the brutal 9.0-magnitude earthquake unleashed the deadly tsunami, it is clear that many elderly were unable to escape for a variety of reasons.

Obviously, most people presumed that drowning would be the main cause of death and that elderly citizens would suffer the most.  However, the report by the Japanese police that the elderly accounted for 65% of all deaths is shocking and extremely high.

In a previous article by Modern Tokyo Times it was stated that “In the future, certain measures could be taken from these findings and this applies to greater attention being given to the most vulnerable.  This could apply to early back-up systems being enhanced; emergency transport located in special areas of high density areas where the elderly reside; zones of housing to be further away from the coastline for elderly residents and people who are disabled.”

“It is important not to become alarmist because the chance of another major tsunami like the March 11 tsunami is remote in Japan in the near future (but not in the distant future).  After all, you do not get many earthquakes with the magnitude of 9 and even when you do get major earthquakes which are high on the scale; then other factors have to come into play and so many other variables, in order for the same destructive accident to happen in the future.”

History proved to be the saving grace for the hamlet called Aneyoshi because they heeded the advice of old stone tablets which warned about past tsunamis. Therefore, the people of Aneyoshi planned the infrastructure of this small hamlet based on past history and because of this they escaped the ravages of the tsunami.

One stone tablet comments that “High dwellings are the peace and harmony of our descendants” and another says “Remember the calamity of the great tsunamis.”

Ancestors knew full well the power of tsunamis and how you need to understand the destructiveness of nature. Therefore, another stone tablet states that “If an earthquake comes, beware of tsunamis.” However, this ancient advice by caring ancestors was ignored by many and the old stone tablets, some which date back to 600 years ago, should have been heeded.

However, it is reported that many Japanese people went back to their homes after the violent earthquake struck.  This decision had tragic repercussions because the tsunami swept many people away who had gone back home to collect their belongings or because they believed that the danger was over.

Yotaru Hatamura is a scholar with great knowledge about the old stone tablets and he also believes that history was ignored.  Yotaru Hatamura comments that “People had this crucial knowledge, but they were busy with their lives and jobs, and many forgot.”

In the past article by Modern Tokyo Times it was also stated that “Turning back to the high rate of elderly people dying because of the tsunami then it is clear that other factors are involved.  This applies to the younger generation being at work and many will have been out of town because of this reason.  Also, a higher number of younger people will have had their own transport and obviously the mobility factor is a clear advantage and some elderly people will have been alone.”

Also, in many villages and towns in northeastern Japan the elderly population is sizeable (the same applies to other areas in the countryside) because many of the younger generation have migrated to big cities in Japan like Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya. 

“In the video below this article you can witness the power of the tsunami and during the last minute it becomes apparent that elderly people were caught because of lack of mobility.  Also, you also see a man trying to help a disabled person and the video is harrowing near the end.”

“The last few minutes on this earth for tens of thousands of people was based on fear, shock, and complete disbelief. They could feel and witness the mayhem around them before being engulfed by the tsunami.”

Therefore, it is vital that the data is fully scrutinized in order to introduce genuine safety mechanisms which will enable more people to survive when another potent tsunami strikes Japan.

Video evidence and police statistics show just what went wrong and specialists must study and formulate counter-measures.  The residents of Aneyoshi learnt from history and now it is vital that local governments and the central government learns from the deadly tsunami which hit Japan on March 11.

(This video is harrowing in the last few minutes – but it does show how the elderly and disabled were victims of the tsunami)

October 2, 2011

Fukushima and sound early advice by Sir John Beddington helped many

Fukushima and sound early advice by Sir John Beddington helped many

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

March 11 in Tokyo was a very eventful day because the powerful 9.0-magnitude earthquake violently shook the capital of Japan many times. Having resided in Tokyo for many years then earthquakes are nothing new and usually you just go with the flow and soon it is over.  However, this day was very different because the force was enormous and it felt like the ground was going to open up.

The first few hours witnessed aftershock after aftershock and it seemed like it wasn’t going to end.  In Yurakcho and Ginza, where I was aimlessly wandering around, the high octane nature of fashion suddenly felt unimportant and the notion of reality was like an illusion.

After several hours of uncertainty people in Tokyo were still unaware about what was happening in distant Miyagi, Iwate, and Fukushima.  The news on television was mentioning that a tsunami had followed the original earthquake but information was patchy. Therefore, during this period most people in Tokyo believed that tens of people or a few hundred people may have died but nobody could have imagined the real devastation.

Not only this, but Fukushima was not even on the radar in Tokyo during the early period and most people, me included, just watched the breaking news on wide television screens in buildings where they are available.  The train system was in shut-down mode and the aftershocks were many, therefore, it was all about biding your time and trying to contact friends if possible or somehow finding your way home.

The next few days felt extremely strange in Kanagawa, Tokyo and Saitama, where I am based.  Also, more details were emerging about Fukushima and the Daiichi nuclear plant and this story was picked on by the global media.

At the same time it was becoming more apparent that thousands of people had perished and by the end of a week or so then clearly this figure was rising to the tens of thousands. Images of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima were being shown daily and the footage was horrendous. This applies to images of the tsunami sweeping away villages and towns and the ongoing nuclear crisis in Fukushima.

Many international news agencies were painting a picture that was genuine with regards to the tsunami but completely over the top when it came to Fukushima.  This created a panic and many embassies closed and vast numbers of foreign nationals began to leave.

Of course, at no point was I going to leave because Tokyo is my home and for better or worse it is my shared city along with my beloved Manchester.  However, just like in all events you had a voice of reason amidst the scaremongers and this voice of reason belonged to Sir John Beddington.

In my earlier article called British scientific adviser: nothing to fear outside of Fukushima exclusion zone which I wrote on March 17 in Tokyo, I highlight this man of wisdom and deep knowledge.  I commented that “The British Embassy in Tokyo on March 15th invited the Government’s Chief Scientific Professor, Sir John Beddington, to answer deep and difficult questions related to the Fukushima nuclear power plant.  Sir John Beddington replied and gave detailed information about the most likely outcome and his opinion about events which have been reported in the press.”

Sir John Beddington stated “…what I would really re-emphasise is that this is very problematic for the area and the immediate vicinity and one has to have concerns for the people working there. Beyond the 20 or 30 kilometres, it’s really not an issue for health.”

Therefore, after reading the full transcript of what Sir John Beddington stated I felt re-assured and completely vindicated about telling people to stay in Tokyo. This applies to a few individuals I know who hit the panic button.

Turning back to my article I stated that “at all times, it appears that the British point of view is that Tokyo is very safe and the same applies to all areas outside of the exclusion zone of the Fukushima nuclear plant but 30km was mentioned to be extremely safe, therefore, the exclusion zone may be added if developments become severe and meltdown actually happens.”

Sir John Beddington was a tower of strength in the following days and weeks after March 11. Of course some of his views may have changed given the release of further information but the fundamentals will remain the same.

On the other side you had scaremongers and one writer for the BBC was clearly out of order.  Therefore, in another article I commented that “According to Rupert Wingfield-Hayes you would believe that all Tokyoites are panicking and are in a flux because of events since the devastating earthquake.  He states in his article called “The eerie quiet of Tokyo hides Japan’s shock and anxiety,” which was published by the BBC, that “The threat to Tokyo’s 30 million people is invisible.  Everyone is now asking themselves the same question.  When does the crisis unfolding at the Fukushima nuclear plant 150 miles (240km) to the north cross that invisible line when you decide the risk of staying here is too high?”

Sadly you had many Rupert Wingfield-Hayes who were adding fuel to the fire but luckily words of wisdom were being stated by people of deep knowledge like Sir John Beddington.

Therefore, relatives and friends in many lands were hanging on his words and if only the media heeded his sound advice.  However, you have many agendas and this applies to environmentalists, anti-nuclear lobby, and many other factors.

Yet for people like myself, I followed the advice of Sir John Beddington and after reading his pearls of wisdom I just knuckled down and got on with life.  After all, Tokyoites were very lucky to escape the ravages of the earthquake, tsunami and radiation from Fukushima.

The British Embassy in Tokyo


September 27, 2011

Pro-nuclear Mayor wins despite anti-Nuclear lobby in Japan

Pro-nuclear Mayor wins despite anti-Nuclear lobby in Japan

Olivier LeCourt and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The crisis in Fukushima at the Daiichi plant made no difference in the mayor election in Kaminoseki. Therefore, the pro-nuclear mayor was re-elected once more and he will continue to push ahead with plans for a new nuclear plant to be built.

Fukushima is a “nuclear football” where scaremongers over-hype the crisis and desire to make Japan non-nuclear.  Issues certainly need to be raised and mismanagement at this nuclear plant was a clear factor in the ongoing crisis.  However, the earthquake of March 11 which unleashed the tsunami is being used for political purposes and it is difficult to find the truth amidst the propaganda.

It is abundantly clear that safety measures were woefully inadequate and this fact is disputed by few people. Therefore, many individuals still support the nuclear energy sector but their voices are being neglected on the whole because you have a slick anti-nuclear lobby campaign.

Dr. Vojin Joksimovich, who is a PhD holder in nuclear engineering and is a retired nuclear safety specialist, is very skeptical about short-term policies which seek to dismantle the nuclear sector in Japan.  He comments in his article titled EU, US, & Japan: Dysfunctional Leaderships are Gambling with leading Capitalist Economies, that “The Japanese nuclear establishment has overlooked the need to provide a need for adequate tsunami protection. San Onofre nuclear power plant in my neighborhood is protected by a 30 foot high tsunami wall. The Tohoku earthquake originated in a subduction zone and the tsunamis generated in a subduction zone are much larger than those resulting from earthquakes in a strike slip geologic fault systems such as faults near San Onofre.”

Dr. Vojin Joksimovich also comments thatNuclear power plays an important role in the world’s energy mix. It is clean, as the world seeks to reduce carbon emissions. It is steadier than renewables, such as solar and wind, which require a more expensive and sophisticated power grid. In addition, the solar and wind energy storage facilities still need to be developed. The nuclear power, like coal, provides inexpensive source of base power, while solar and wind are useful as supplementary energy sources. The third largest world economy cannot afford to abandon nuclear power. Japan in future could focus on building inherently safe high-temperature gas cooled reactors.”

Therefore, when the pro-nuclear Mayor Shigemi Kashiwabara was re-elected in Kaminoseki against his opponent who is anti-nuclear, then people should take note.  After all, images of Fukushima are still in the memory and even now the crisis continues in Fukushima but despite this the majority of people in Kaminoseki remained loyal to the local mayor who supports the building of a new nuclear plant.

Even the reporting of this event is being manipulated by language and excuses are being made.  Example, comments stating that “much of the electorate is elderly” and some “small pockets who support nuclear plants remain” – implying that only negative factors won the election.  However, it is not some small pockets because the electorate is divided despite all the scaremongering. 

Even in Kaminoseki it isn’t so simple because many locals also oppose a nuclear power plant being built and demonstrations took place way before the nuclear crisis in Fukushima.  However, the majority did support Kashiwabara but clearly this is a hot topic and very delicate.

The planned Chugoku Electric Power Co hopes to build a new nuclear plant and the major is focused on the needs of the people he represents and obtaining much needed revenue.  It is obvious that many towns and cities in the countryside need to attract investments and nuclear power enabled rapid economic growth in Japan along with other sources of energy in the past.

China, India, and South Korea are all focused on expanding nuclear facilities and many Japanese companies are heavily involved in this sector.  The current economic crisis throughout the world also needs pragmatism and if Japanese politicians desire to scrap the nuclear sector then it should only be based on feasible alternatives.

Mayor Kashiwabara comments “What is wrong in hoping for a decent living?”  

It is a fair question and many parts of the countryside need economic stimulus and while this should not rely on any one particular source of revenue, it is clear that the nuclear option is a source of possible economic support. 

In another article published by Modern Tokyo Times it was stated that  “Alternative energy can enhance the energy demands of Japan alongside a well maintained nuclear sector but the phasing out of nuclear energy appears to be over dramatic and ill-considered in such a short space of time.” 

It would appear that Prime Minister Noda shares the same thinking because he clearly believes that the nuclear sector will remain to be an important source of energy for the next few decades.

However, if a genuine policy of alternative energy is put on the table whereby it makes economic sense and which is obtainable, then the water will no longer be muddy.  At the moment, this isn’t happening and nuclear energy isn’t the big evil which it is perceived to be by the anti-nuclear lobby.

Fukushima was about human failure and a freak potent tsunami which destroyed many coastal regions where the earthquake hit.  The safety mechanism failed and the defensive structure was inadequate amongst other major failings.

The re-election of Mayor Kashiwabara is a reminder that the nuclear issue is very complex and that many people still believe that this sector is viable and needed.