matter what side of the planet you are from, there can hardly be
anybody who could stay indifferent to what has recently happened
in Japan. The whole world expresses deepest sympathies to the
people of Japan for the painful tragedy that has befallen this
great nation in spring 2011. Like many others, I have been
following the media reports from Japan daily being shocked and
amazed every time. It is hard to grasp the enormity of this
historic natural disaster where thousands of its citizens have
been killed, towns and villages have been swept away by a
massive tsunami and the nuclear catastrophe has made the nation
live under threat.
Rescue and support teams came to Japan from all around the world
to provide assistance. The damage was already estimated at
hundreds of billion of dollars, but it is too early to know for
sure. Because Japan is the world's third largest economy, the
financial aftershocks are being felt from Tokyo to London to
What made me hold my breath was the search for the thousands of
missing souls which was frequently interrupted by tsunami
warnings. How many days, hours, and minutes more can survivors
live trapped beneath the ruins without nourishment and warmth?
How many were washed into the ocean when the massive tidal wave
surged back to the sea?
The country is heavily reliant on nuclear power. No country has
taken greater care with the design and building of these plants
than the Japanese. However, the enormity of the disaster
overruled their plans. The Fukushima Nuclear Plant reactors
overheated due to damage from the earthquake and tsunami. They
began to leak radioactive material into the environment
threatening nearby residents and, depending on the wind, perhaps
millions more. Even more alarming is the fact that it may still
take months to end the threat.
Still in the grips of their catastrophe, the people of Japan
have been stoic, reserved and accepting of their suffering and
misfortune. They were shown to quietly sit in freezing and
poorly furnished shelters that had no power or heat. Hungry and
thirsty, they were standing in long lines waiting for a few
scraps of food and water. They calmly accepted their quota of
gasoline after waiting for hours. Their courage in the face of
overwhelming adversity is almost incomprehensible.
But the Japanese have overcome a destructive world war. They
have recovered from the uncertain difficulties of a "lost
decade" brought on when their economy had a hard time in the
early 90s. For sure, images of cars, boats and houses washing
across the open fields of northern Japan will last a lifetime.
Perhaps the scars will never heal. But, as Japan struggles to
right itself, it will certainly recover and rebuild because it
is a strong nation with a resilient people. There will be much
for the world to learn from this unimaginable tragedy.
During these last couple of month I was very pleased to get the
news from Japan directly – from a person who lives in the
country and sees everything with the own eyes – my new friend, a
Japanese lecturer Sekine Kazuaki. At the moment Sekine lectures
on two issues: the reasons for earthquakes as well as the
possibility of future big earthquakes in Japan, and the problem
of Nuclear Power Stations after earthquakes. Our correspondence
has been and still is very precious to me, it feels me with
inspiration and teaches me to be strong under any circumstances.
I am sure our readers all over the world would be happy to hear
a true voice from Japan as here comes Sekine’s report about the
country’s life during and after the tragedy. The photos from
Sekine’s report are provided by Dani Nehushtai.