Research Paper: Pictures Can Speak Louder

Pages: 4 (1414 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Geography  ·  Buy This Paper


[. . .] Survivors exhibit signs of post-traumatic stress syndrome, as a result of their experience, and many, like Mr. Sasaki, take refuge in local bars to drown their sorrows.

However, there are some bright signs that the Japanese economy is rebounding. "Growth in Japan is estimated at 2% this year, after shrinking 0.7% last year, equal to the projected growth for the U.S. Japan's monthly consumer-sentiment index, after plunging in the wake of the disasters, is nearing pre-March 11 levels. The Nikkei Average Index has rallied 14% this year, a remarkable achievement given the past year's calamities" (Wakabayashi 2012). Some towns that were entirely leveled have been revitalized. But along with much hope, there is also great bitterness, and the feeling that the Japanese government did not adequately prepare for the potential eventuality of the tsunami.

For an earthquake-prone nation located near a fault line. Japan, remains frighteningly dependent upon nuclear energy as a source to sustain the needs of its populations. Over thirty percent of its energy needs were provided by 54 reactors at 17 power plants across the nation when the quake struck. There had been warnings before, such as when a 1995 6.9-magnitude quake caused the government to reevaluate safety standards. In 2008, Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) "appointed a panel of engineers, geologists and seismologists to review the safeguards and suggest revisions" Nakamura & Harlan 2011). The panel that evaluated the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant had declared the plant safe, and dismissed dissenting experts on the panel who predicted that a tsunami could cause undo stress to the plant (Nakamura & Harlan 2011). Despite warnings from a prominent seismologist that a tsunami was likely near the Fukushima Daiichi plant, the panel stated that it believed that earthquakes alone were the primary threat. Safeguards at the plant were thus focused on a single likely catastrophe in the form of earthquakes, and did not take into consideration the potential for disaster if a tsunami occurred after a quake (Nakamura & Harlan 2011). Despite the banding-together in many communities to fight the forces generated by the tsunami, the trust many Japanese invested in their government has ebbed away, just like the floodwaters. "The disillusionment with government shows itself in the current debate over nuclear power, with many local communities refusing to allow the restart of reactors on their shorelines. At the moment, just two of Japan's 54 reactors are in operation, a sharp reversal in a country that before last year depended on nuclear power for one-third of its energy" (Harlan 2012).

The anti-nuclear movement has gained considerable traction in Japan, and even affected other nation's nuclear policies. For example, Germany has decided to abandon its use of nuclear reactors, although nowhere nearly as earthquake-prone as Japan (McGroarty & Fuhrmans 2011). However, Germany has considerable advantages that Japan does not, in terms of its ability to import fossil fuels from nearby locations. In Japan, "utility companies have been forced to import fossil fuels to maintain a reliable energy supply, potentially leading to higher bills for consumers and a perpetual trade deficit for the country" (Harlan 2012). Thus, Japan continues to feel the effects of the tsunami, despite the overall 'macro' economic recovery of the nation. Despite the improvements since the tragedy more than a year ago seen in many areas, some Japanese feel as if they are like the boat in the U.S. Navy aerial photograph -- adrift.

Works Cited

Harlan, Chico. "One year later, Japan still in crisis." The Washington Post. 12 Mar 2012. =27889&RQT=309&VName=PQD

McGroarty, Patrick & Vanessa Fuhrmans. "Germany to Forsake Its Nuclear Reactors."

Wall Street Journal. 31 May 31, 2011. ientId=27889&RQT=309&VName=PQD [9 May 2012]

Naik, Gautam. "Earth's Energy Unleashed as Tectonic Plates Shift." Wall Street Journal.

Mar 11, 2011. =27889&RQT=309&VName=PQD [9 May 2012]

Nakamura, David & Chico Harlan. "Nuclear plant's panel ignored risk of tsunami."

The Washington Post. 24 Mar 2011. ientId=27889&RQT=309&VName=PQD [9 May 2012]

Wakabayashi, Daisuke. "A Year After Tsunami's Wrath, Searching for Hope and Resilience."

Wall Street Journal. 11 Mar 2012. =27889&RQT=309&VName=PQD [9 May 2012] [END OF PREVIEW]

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Cite This Research Paper:

APA Format

Pictures Can Speak Louder.  (2012, May 9).  Retrieved June 19, 2019, from

MLA Format

"Pictures Can Speak Louder."  9 May 2012.  Web.  19 June 2019. <>.

Chicago Format

"Pictures Can Speak Louder."  May 9, 2012.  Accessed June 19, 2019.