Monday, March 14, 2011

"Japan is not Haiti - nor New Orleans"

From Mark Steyn's mailbox:

Japan is not Haiti, and how do I know? Well, I was living just outside of Kobe when the monstrous jishin (earthquake) hit in January 1995 and virtually destroyed the center of a major Japanese city, killing 6,600 people covering a 20-mile swath. I was right in the middle. Down the street from where I lived, a seven-story apartment building ended up being four stories. My next door neighbor died from a collapsed roof. When the quake hit, I thought it was a bomb going off.
Here's what didn't happen:

~There was no looting or breaking into food stores.
~There was no time for trying to blame anyone.
~There was no one cutting in the front of the line to get water.
~There were no calls to lawyers.
Here is what did happen:
~The people in the Kobe area were not waiting around for a US aircraft carrier.
~The military was deployed immediately to dig and search.
~The Yakuza (Japanese mafia) were the early suppliers of medical supplies and food (they had the connections and the means to get the materials to the folks).
~Within days, temporary housing was being constructed all over the area.
~Within days, portable showers and toilet facilities were set up all over the area.
~Within days, supermarkets were opened, and the queues stretched endlessly as they could only let a few people in the stores at a time. There was no anger, yelling, blaming, looting, or cutting-in-front.
~Within hours, clean-up began by everyone— students, teachers, seniors, Yakuza, politicians. Everyone seemed to be contributing in some way.
So like I said, Japan is not Haiti— nor New Orleans. They don't need us…That is not to say they would not be unappreciative of any assistance, but probably the best thing we can do is provide portable medical facilities, staffing (if requested), and search-sniffing dogs.  
As a foreigner, I was treated like everyone else, and by the time I left Japan four years later, I would say 90% of the entire city of Kobe had been rebuilt (and consider that New York has been unable to erect a couple of building at Ground Zero now for going on 10 years).


Alain said...

Having family members living in the general area, I can confirm that the description of what took place in Kobe is accurate. I also know that the same is occurring at present in Japan. Yet our official state multiculturalism policy, another gift from Trudeau, assures us that all cultures are equal, or value neutral. It is not difficult to see where the lie is.

JR said...

Good point, Alain. And I hope your family members escaped serious trauma this time round.

Alain said...

Thank you and yes they did, thank goodness. They felt it but there was no structural damage nor risk to lives where they live. If only the rest of us could handle disasters as well instead of the standard looting and blaming.