Monday, June 20, 2011

the choice up north: stay home or eat

This story posted June 18 by the UK's Daily Mail echoes some of the things I've heard first-hand from people I know who've been up to Tohoku and have seen for themselves what's going on up there. And it ain't good.

According to the article: "With unemployment running at 90 per cent, the needy are starting to revolt. One third of families are refusing to move to temporary housing, opting to remain in shelters to hang on to their precious food benefits. Sixty per cent of the 28,000 temporary homes remain unoccupied. A staggering 90,000 people remain in shelters."

And: "The worst affected may prove to be those who lost nothing in the way of homes or relatives. They may have no running water, no money, no employment. But when compensation is finally awarded, they will be entitled to nothing" because they will not qualify as "victims."

Read more:

When I first read the headling I thought the story would be about the people in the devastated areas, turning on each other, that that would be the "proof" that Japanese 'wa' or harmony was a myth, but apparently it is the government that is failing the people, not doing their jobs, not acting quickly or capably to minimize suffering and get recovery going. There are plenty of examples of people helping each other get by, taking neighbors in, etc., so I think there is still some 'wa' on that level. Take the woman in the story Chieko Miura, 62, who has 12 evacuees still living with her in her home on a hilltop just north of Minamisanriku. If that's not wa...

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