17. März 2011

Why I'm not fleeing Japan

Ein sehr guter Artikel vom heutigen Tage von Paul Blustein in "The Washington Post":

"If there is anything to worry about, it is that the perception of Japan as an unsafe country will inflict all kinds of economic and psychological damage. That would compound the tragedy it is enduring, hamper its ability to recover and elevate the challenges it faces just when it is most in need of support.

The Japanese have, for example, woken up in recent years to the need to promote their nation as a tourist destination - but how many millions will forgo visiting Kyoto's exquisite temples for fear of radiation exposure? Japan's premium-quality rice, fruit and other foods have begun selling well in the nouveau riche markets of Asia, offering hope that the nation's notoriously cosseted agriculture might become more open and modern. Will those export markets dry up if Japanese food acquires a nuclear taint?

The number of Japanese who study and work abroad must increase so the nation can cope with globalization more effectively - but will this happen if Japanese anticipate being treated as some sort of freaky gamma-ray-emitters? As my former colleague Rob Stein reported Monday, people from areas near past nuclear accidents have been stigmatized and shunned, making them all the more prone to stress-related illness.

I admit that when news broke about the power plants I wondered whether dangerous particulates might drift to our home. But when I read past the headlines, I learned that the risks were negligible for virtually all 125 million residents of the Japanese archipelago (except, of course, the heroically courageous plant workers).


All the more imperative, then, that perspective be kept. If foreigners recoil at Japanese vacations, job postings, products or people because of irrational fears about radiation, they will deepen and prolong the trauma that nature has inflicted. In a few months, Japan should be its recognizable self, maybe even brimming with vitality stemming from a renewed sense of national purpose. The trains will once again be astonishingly punctual; the food will be delectable and plentiful. Once that happens, foreigners will hopefully recognize that Japan - with its Great Buddha and so many other wonders - remains an extraordinarily safe place. " unbedingt weiter lesen

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