Reporting From: Fukushima, Japan [see photos] - Simon Black www.SovereignMan.com
Economy - International
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Notes from the Field
Date: November 2, 2011
Reporting From: Fukushima, Japan [see photos]
I had to
come see for myself. What does the worst radiation and natural disaster in
history look like? Chaos. Devastation. Cataclysm. Right?
Actually... none of the above.
Fukushima and the surrounding prefecture is as quaint and picturesque as ever.
Eight months on, there are hardly any signs of a nuclear
accident or major earthquake, at least on the surface.
I was half-expecting the town to
have a permanent decontamination facility... with radiation detectors as far as
the eye can see, and legions of workers in biohazard suits. After all, this town of nearly 300,000 is now the world's largest dirty
But riding through
the surrounding area and walking around the streets today, Fukushima looks like
any other small(ish) town. Schools, temples, shops, and restaurants...
everything is normal. In fact, it's almost eerily normal, like something out of
an old Hitchcock film.
have moved on and even learned to joke about the incident with an untraditional
sarcasm. At dinner this evening, my friend asked the waiter "How's the
eggplant?" to which the waiter replied with a dry smile, "Oh don't worry, we
source that from another location now..."
The really bizarre thing is that the radiation
levels are still really high... yet everyone is staying put. Tepco, the
group that operates the failed nuclear reactors nearby, has been publishing all
sorts of propaganda saying that radiation levels are falling. Nobody believes
A group of politicians staged a
recent media stunt, drinking water that was supposedly filled from a puddle
outside Fukushima's reactors, and dining on local produce. Nobody seems to
The government is
telling them not to worry while private studies suggest otherwise. A
recent paper published by Norwegian atmospheric scientist Adreas
Stohl refutes a number of claims made by the Japanese government, and it more
than doubles the government's estimate of how much radiation was released in the
And yet, nearly everyone is still here. After the
initial evacuation, people just came back to town and picked up where they left
off. They know the government is lying to them. They know they're in
danger and that their lives and livelihoods are at risk. But they're
Some of this is due to
a lack of preparation. Most people didn't plan for this emergency and didn't
have an action plan or bolt hole somewhere. For others, it's just the expected
thing to do-- stay and suffer.
seems crazy, but this is a familiar story.
Think about how many people are lied to on a regular
basis by their politicians. They know they're being lied to. They know their
livelihood is under attack. They know the trend is bad, and it's getting worse.
But they do nothing and plan nothing, warning signs be damned.
Oh, how politicians love
it when citizens are good little sheep, patiently waiting to be milked
Look, each of us has
a choice to make. Like the folks here in Fukushima, most people will simply put
up with constant abuse indefinitely. Others will grab a pitchfork and join the
lost souls' convention on Wall Street. Most will pin their hopes on the next
us that voting with your feet is sometimes the only sensible option. After all, there are a lot of green pastures out there in the world.
It may not be a popular decision.
Throughout history, societies frequently derided anyone with the foresight and
fortitude to leave.
And so what?
Let them complain. Our obligations are to ourselves, our families, and whomever
else we choose to let into our circles. There is no natural debt to
society or political servitude simply by accident of birth.
It's time to start
rejecting antiquated social expectations and think in new directions. With so
much uncertainty, it makes a world of sense to have a backup plan
Senior Editor, SovereignMan.com