Japan Tsunami Disaster March 2011 -- Present Essay

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Japan Tsunami Disaster March 2011 -- Present

The objective of this study is to analyze the incident of the earthquake tsunami of March 2011, in Japan and to propose three important lessons that might be learned from this incident by those wishing to improve the quality of emergency response and recovery of those affected by such an event. This work will discuss the issues related to mental health and societal consequences and what the impact was to the citizenry and finally, why it is important to understand these issues. This work will identify possible lead agencies for such a catastrophe in the United States and discuss possible roles of Non-Governmental Agencies (NGOs).

Japan is still feeling the impacts from the earthquake tsunami of March 11, 2011, and the radiation leak at the nuclear plant resulting from this incident. It is reported by the New York times that the recovery effort in Japan is ongoing after the country lost approximately 20,000 lives in the disaster following the 9.0 Richter scale earthquake. The nuclear crisis has been compared to Chernobyl with explosions and leaks of radiation from three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

I. Leadership

The crisis resulted in a change in leadership with the governing Democratic Party electing Mr. Nodaas as the new prime minister in August 2011 according to the New York Times. Mr. Nodaas replaced Naoto Kan cited as failing to "galvanize Japan after the disaster" and being "forced to resign." (New York Times, 2012) The New York Times reports that the "operator of the Fukushima Daiichi plant, admitted for the first time that it had failed to take stronger measures to prevent disasters for fear of inviting lawsuits or protests against its nuclear plants.
The admission, an apparent bid to inspire confidence, also seemed to confirm one of the main arguments of the company's critics: that it refused to recognize and fix problems because it did not want to jeopardize the so-called safety myth that Japan's nuclear technology was infallible." (New York Times, 2012) In fact, it is reported in a European Commission report released in October 2012 that nearly all "of the more than 130 active nuclear reactors in the European Union need safety improvements, repairs or upgrades, at a cost of up to 25 billion Euros ($32 billion)…" (New York Times, 2012) Also reported is that "some insiders from Japan's tightly knit nuclear industry have stepped forward to say that Tepco and regulators had for years ignored warnings of the possibility of a larger-than-expected tsunami in northeastern Japan and thus failed to take adequate countermeasures, such as raising wave walls or placing backup generators on higher ground." (New York Times, 2012) The government awarded contracts for clean up and rehabilitation to three large construction companies that had no expertise in the cleanup of nuclear waste and radiation according to the New York Times report. The efforts for disaster response and cleanup is reported to have been "hindered at times by a debilitating breakdown in trust between the major actors: Mr. Kan; the Tokyo headquarters of the plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power, known as Tepco; and Masao Yoshida, the manager at the stricken plant. The conflicts produced confused flows of sometimes contradictory….....

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