Six Years Later

Today is the 11th of March and it happens to be a Saturday, which is the usual day for my blog post. It feels kinda weird to ignore the date and to post happy heavy metal memories from the 70,000 Tons of Metal cruise, so I shall post them next weekend instead.

The Great East Japan earthquake happened at 14:46 six years ago and I was just in the Lalaport Yokohama shopping mall today during that time and was pleased that the moment did not pass by unnoticed, but that Lalaport made an announcement and conducted a minute of silence. Most of the people in the busy mall observed the minute, myself included, and it was touching and spooky at the same time to have most the people around you stop walking and close their eyes.

Six years ago our lives here were shaken up and about 18,500 people, including those who are still listed as missing, have died, mostly from the tsunamis that followed, not the actual quake.
It’s quite unbelievable that it happened already six years ago. It was a Friday and I got stuck in the Tokyo office I worked at at the time until 1 in the morning, because also in Tokyo buildings shook massively and all train services stopped for a while.

The wounds of the earthquake and tsunami are bad enough, but what will remain with us for many decades to come is the crippled and melted-down Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power plant.
Six years on, they are trying to send robots into the melted down chambers to see what’s going on there and to maybe figure out a method how to remove the nuclear mess, but even the robots’ circuits get fried after two hours in radioactivity that would kill a human in two minutes. Nobody knows yet what will become of this stuff and how to deal with it and this story will continue beyond our lifetimes.

I am not categorically against nuclear power but the lessons learned must be: do not build nuclear power plants on the ring of fire next to the ocean……..
I hope that the remaining nuclear power plants in Japan will never get online again. In wikipedia it says that there were 11,450 aftershocks until March 2015… We still get the occasional aftershock in the region. In the meantime it rattled massively in Kyushu last year. On average there is a small quake in Tokyo that you can feel every month. I’m not even tweeting about small earthquakes anymore, it’s a part of life here.

I only hope the Fukushima region does not get hit by a big one in the next 50 years or so that would crumble those concrete chambers where the molten nuclear fuel sits… what a madness.
Still, my opinion from six years ago remains the same, the world cares/cared too much about Fukushima and not enough about the 18,500 who died and the hundred thousands of lives that got destroyed by deaths of loved ones and by displacement because of the nuclear disaster.
My thoughts go out to the victims and to those who were left behind alive but forever damaged.

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