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Monday, March 14, 2011

The most amazing thing about Japan

A&G is an economics & finance blog and eventually we'll cover the financial aspects of this Japanese tragedy as the rest of the news and financial blogosphere have already been quick to do.  But for the moment, we'll focus on things of more importance and consequence.

As we all know, Japan went through a horrible tragedy last week.  A triple whammy of earthquake, tsunami and now nuclear meltdown risk with hundreds of people already exposed to radiation.  And thousands have perished thus far.

And we've seen the pictures and video on television and internet; the most dramatic replayed endlessly.  Water sweeping cars and boats inland like little toys with tremendous speed, whirlpools swallowing up everything in its circumference, and the like.

And we've seen people mourn, and identify the dead in small Japanese towns and villages where staggering percentages of loss of life occurred- 20%.. 30%.. 40% of whole communities- missing or deceased.  And to revisit what was once their homes, only to see an endless sight of debris- one former home and business after another- like twigs.

And we've heard accounts of the Japanese people-- millions of people without electricity and many lacking food and water as relief agencies rush in to establish a sense of immediate normalcy as best they can.

And amongst the shock, sadness and realization of a long road ahead for Japan, one amazingly and  incredible fact stands out -- 

There has been NO looting in Japan...  None.

This can not be minimized and is quite impressive given the scope and magnitude of the wreckage and how deeply its impacted so many people's lives in mere seconds. There is respect for property in the midst of disaster.  No breaking of shoppes to steal food and supplies.  No ransacking of businesses still standing to take electronics and other luxuries..  Nothing.
From Telegraph.co.uk --

"The landscape of parts of Japan looks like the aftermath of World War Two; no industrialized country since then has suffered such a death toll. The one tiny, tiny consolation is the extent to which it shows how humanity can rally round in times of adversity, with heroic British rescue teams joining colleagues from the US and elsewhere to fly out."

"And solidarity seems especially strong in Japan itself. Perhaps even more impressive than Japan’s technological power is its social strength, with supermarkets cutting prices and vending machine owners giving out free drinks as people work together to survive. Most noticeably of all, there has been no looting" 

"This is quite unusual among human cultures, and it’s unlikely it would be the case in Britain. During the 2007 floods in the West Country abandoned cars were broken into and free packs of bottled water were stolen. There was looting in Chile after the earthquake last year – so much so that troops were sent in; in New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina saw looting on a shocking scale."

~ Displays of such restraint and altruism are to be marveled at... and admired.


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