Japan quake

David Pilling

I have just returned from a trip to Tohoku, the north-east region of Japan pulverised by the worst tsunami and earthquake to hit the country in decades. More than 20,000 people are dead or missing and some of the coastal towns in the worst-affected areas lost up to 10 per cent of their inhabitants. Some 200,000 homes and shops have been washed away, nearly 80 per cent of the buildings in some places.

There had been hope that the shock would jolt some sense into Japan’s politicians. Sadly, that seems not to have occurred. Read more

David Pilling

This video posted from a Fukushima town-hall meeting on YouTube was brought to my attention by a colleague. It is remarkable on many levels. It shows a group of citizens listening to bureaucrats from Tokyo with less than the usual deference shown to the mandarins who have run Japan since the war.

The audience is made up of citizens who live far enough from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant not to have been evacuated by the government, but close enough to have genuine concerns about elevated levels of radiation. Read more