Japan’s stoicism in the face of successive and unimaginable challenges continues to remain mightily impressive and it might need to remain so, with some reports indicating it could take up to five years to repair the colossal damage wreaked on the country.
A snapshot of daily life in Tokyo was provided to just-auto this morning (22 March) by a reliable automaker source in the heart of the Japanese capital, who gave a brief insight into some of the continuing effects of the recent huge earthquake.
“We had a couple of shakes today just outside Tokyo but they were big enough in the building here – everyone knew about it,” he told just-auto. “The magnitude was 6.5, which is not tiny. At least one of them was located offshore of the huge earthquake and the other ones just outside Tokyo.”
Not tiny indeed given the original earthquake – reported to have generated a 46ft (14m) wave that smashed into the Fukushima nuclear plant – measured 9.0.
The Tokyo source added plummeting temperatures meant the Japanese government had “requested” workers return home to try and conserve power. That appears to be a very Japanese trait – if you can generalise to that extent – in the face of unprecedented challenges – quiet restraint and requests.
“It was not a government order, it was a request,” added the auto source in the capital. “They were talking about possible blackouts in Tokyo of unknown proportions.”
Much of Tokyo apparently remains in darkness – for example shop fronts are frequently blacked out – and this in a city perhaps known for its neon and love of gadgetry more than anywhere else on earth. “A lot of lights are out in our building,” noted the source.
To add to the general feeling of uncertainty, the Fukushima nuclear plant situation has brought into stark relief a new set of questions about possible contamination.
Recognising the potential impact of nuclear fears, the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA) put out a statement today (22 March) acknowledging a “flood of confused information, much of it conflicting in content.”
JAMA went on to note the Japanese government as well as the local authorities were “in full transparency,” when it came to disclosing any level of radiation.
Tell that to the thousands of ex-pats who have been clogging Tokyo’s airports or the families fleeing further south on packed trains to escape any nuclear effect.
They retain a certain scepticism – calmly expressed – about that full transparency.
Stoicism only goes so far before hard-headed practicality takes over, but perhaps nowhere else on earth could stoicism could be so admirably demonstrated.