The frailities of Japanese agility is now coming to the fore, as I mentioned in my last post Japan : Land of Swaying buildings, Seismic waves and suicide. Whilst the thousands of displaced and affected people are stoically going about their business, maintaining their unique level of politeness and reserve, the authorities are showing the effects of protracted decision making, no leadership, and little expeditious creativity.
The sight of helicopters dropping tons of water from a great height, which was dispersed over a wide area, clearly missing its target, was the act of a desperate man. A very small percentage would have hit the spent fuel ponds, thus having little valuable impact. Their original planning for options to refill the ponds in the event of leakage was clearly flawed – where are the 2nd and 3rd back-up feeder pipes that should have been there.
We now see the irrational scare of radiation rearing its ugly head – the ultimate “bogey-man” – the last primordial fear – the invisible, silent, killer. The “fast breeder” response of this unknown quantity is gaining a grip exponentially. The exclusion zone is growing around the Fukushima Power Plant – still many miles from Tokyo, however foreign governments are strongly urging people to leave. It is sensationally reported that Japan is 48 hrs from its “Chernobyl” – fallout that resulted from an explosion – there is little chance of this happening at Fukushima.
People are becoming shocked that the radiation level is now 20 times greater than normal background readings – as though this is a major problem. An average air flight subjects us all to 30+ times normal background levels. 10,000 times is required to start getting harmful to humans. The whole of Tokyo cannot evacuate itself on the back of ignorance, although a number of Western governments seem to be doing so.
Where does this all end?
Confidence is a fragile thing – once lost it is hard to regain quickly. Japan and Tokyo will become no-go areas, the threat of radiation will wreck the economy of Japan, power cuts will continue for months, as supplies falter, trade will decline, major Japanese corporations will start to fail, the 3rd largest economy will wither faster than originally expected, it will borrow more money and fuel its gigantic deficit, the yen will crash, the effects will hit the rest of the world like a virtual tsunami. We are all so connected but it will take time before the misery of the Japanese becomes the moaning of the English.
The end of the first week is nearly upon us and in that time the world has changed….in a few months it will become unrecognisable. Whether the reactor explodes is largely irrelevant now, it might as well have done – Japan will not be the 3rd largest economy for long. It will realise that its single homogenous state, and strict culture will fail it, it will have to change, and change fast. The sad thing is that the Japanese cannot change, and cannot change fast.
I fear for the future of Japan….as for them it is Apocalypse Now!