As Sep 11th 2012 has just passed, it's time to look again at the past and think of the future.
Following the March 11th triple disaster ...
15, 870 confirmed dead.
2, 814 missing, presumed dead. Most of those are individuals Miyagi prefecture.
800 police and coast guard officers still charged with the duty of searching the coastline for the bodies of the missing.
221 recovered bodies have still not been identified.
343,000 people are still homeless, and are living in 136,000 temporary homes, both specially constructed prefab buildings and private properties rented by the government.
161,000 people out of that 343,000 mentioned above have been made homeless because of the Fukushima meltdown. It will be decades before they can see their houses again. A sizeable number will never see their homes again, because they are moving away, with friends and relatives helping them find new homes in other parts of Japan.
There are signs of hope. The Japanese government has reaffirmed its commitment to end Japan's reliance on nuclear power, pledging a nuclear-free Japan by the 2030 (the nation will, however, continue to reprocess spent nuclear fuel). There is enhanced public awareness of what to do if an earthquake strikes Tokyo - or, if the scientists are correct, the Tokai region of Shizuoka, Aichi, Gifu and Mie prefectures, which is predicted to be the next danger zone of seismic activity.
The nation remains, however, in a state of political deadlock. Next month will see the elections for the President of the opposition Liberal Democratic Party of Japan, and all five candidates have identical manifestos and a drought of new ideas.
As I write, the Media is full of reports of anti-Japanese protests in China over the Senkaku islands. On a global scale, anti-American protests are sweeping the Middle East, protesting a badly-made amateur film put together by a Christian religious extremist and a con-man.
A stage magician relies on misdirection. The audience gazes in passive fascination at the conjuror's fingers, lulled into a trance by his stagecraft, and react in predicable amazement while the real action goes on elsewhere. This is how the Spectacle works. Do not look at the man behind the curtain! The vast majority of TV-watching human beings have no idea they are being played.
If you, like me, are revolted by this state of affairs and want to do something about it, then here's a book you might be interested in.