3/11:The Fallout. Why does this book exist?
Or to be more precise, why is it necessary for this book to exist?
Next Monday will be the second commemoration of the 3/11 triple disaster. Today, as we look around Japan, we see a country that has still not recovered. Instead of the rival political parties uniting to help their traumatized people recover, the hard right engaged in a vicious slanging match with the ruling party, and kicked them out at the recent general election.
Two years of bureaucratic wrangling have resulted in large areas of northern Japan still barren and empty because reconstruction efforts have been stalled. Thousands of families are still living in temporary shelters in Iwate, Fukushima, and Miyagi, waiting for benefits that are slow to arrive, and sometimes never arrive at all. The agricultural and residential land contaminated by radiation will remain off limits for decades.
The nationalists that control Japan’s government are taking steps to maintain their own power as the nation’s economy enters a permanent decline. The Japanese media want to avoid discussion and confrontation, and carry on with their main business of selling mindless pop culture fluff. A large part of help for the Tohoku communities is coming from outside the region, because the area’s infrastructure is chronically understaffed.
All proceeds – and we do mean all proceeds from the sale of this book – will go to international charities committed to the rebuilding and renaissance of northern Japan. This book is looking for moral support for Tohoku – practical suggestions, not “Pray for Japan” platitudes. This book is looking for foreign investors willing to lend a hand to Tohoku residents – because the Japanese politicians are too busy fighting among themselves to care about their own people.
This book is not an easy read. It’s the stinging gadfly, the thorn in the flesh, the fly in the ointment, the spanner in the works. It shouldn’t have to exist. But it does.
And you’re going to keep hearing about it.