TIDE OF 1,000 BODIES

16 comments

Posted on 14th March 2011 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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I don’t care how stoic and well organized the Japanese are. No one can be prepared for what is hitting them day after day. It is mentally overwhelming. I’m no phsychologist, but I would expect mass depression to sweep over their population. Their demographics are dramatically skewed toward older people. The country doesn’t have enough young people to overcome this devastation with the enthusiasm they showed in 1995 after the Kyoto earthquake. Their Debt to GDP was 90% in 1995. Today it is 200%. They don’t have the financial wherewithal to recover from this disaster. Japan’s economy will spiral downward. I believe this will be the tipping point for the far worse part of the Fourth Turning.

Tide of 1,000 bodies overwhelms quake-hit Japan

By JAY ALABASTER and TODD PITMAN, AP
27 minutes ago
news-general-20110312-AS.Japan.Earthquake

TAKAJO, Japan — A tide of bodies washed up along Japan’s coastline, crematoriums were overwhelmed and rescue workers ran out of body bags as the nation faced the grim reality of its mounting humanitarian, economic and nuclear crisis Monday after a calamitous tsunami.

Millions of people were facing a fourth night without water, food or heating in near-freezing temperatures in the devastated northeast. Meanwhile, a third reactor at a nuclear power plant lost its cooling capacity and the fuel rods at another were at least briefly fully exposed, raising fears of a meltdown. The stock market plunged over the likelihood of huge losses by Japanese industries including big names such as Toyota and Honda.

A Japanese police official said 1,000 washed up bodies were found scattered Monday across the coastline of Miyagi prefecture. The official declined to be named, citing department policy.

The discovery raised the official death toll to about 2,800, but the Miyagi police chief has said that more than 10,000 people are estimated to have died in his province alone, which has a population of 2.3 million.

In one town in a neighboring prefecture, the crematorium was unable to handle the crush of bodies being brought in for funerals.

“We have already begun cremations, but we can only handle 18 bodies a day. We are overwhelmed and are asking other cites to help us deal with bodies. We only have one crematorium in town,” Katsuhiko Abe, an official in Soma, told The Associated Press.

In Japan, most people opt to cremate their dead, a process that, like burial, requires permission first from local authorities. But the government took the rare step Monday of waiving that requirement to speed up funerals, said Health Ministry official Yukio Okuda.

“The current situation is so extraordinary, and it is very likely that crematoriums are running beyond capacity,” said Okuda. “This is an emergency measure. We want to help quake-hit people as much as we can.”

Friday’s double tragedy has caused unimaginable deprivation for people of this industrialized country — Asia’s richest — which hasn’t seen such hardship since World War II. In many areas there is no running water, no power and four- to five-hour waits for gasoline. People are suppressing hunger with instant noodles or rice balls while dealing with the loss of loved ones and homes.

“People are surviving on little food and water. Things are simply not coming,” said Hajime Sato, a government official in Iwate prefecture, one of the three hardest hit.

He said authorities were receiving just 10 percent of the food and other supplies they need. Body bags and coffins were running so short that the government may turn to foreign funeral homes for help, he said.

“We have requested funeral homes across the nation to send us many body bags and coffins. But we simply don’t have enough,” he told the AP. “We just did not expect such a thing to happen. It’s just overwhelming.”

The pulverized coast has been hit by hundreds of aftershocks since Friday, the latest one a 6.2 magnitude quake that was followed by a new tsunami scare Monday. As sirens wailed, soldiers abandoned their search operations and told residents of the devastated shoreline in Soma, the worst hit town in Fukushima prefecture, to run to higher ground.

They barked out orders: “Find high ground! Get out of here!” Several soldiers were seen leading an old woman up a muddy hillside. The warning turned out to be a false alarm.

Search parties arrived in Soma for the first time since Friday to dig out bodies. Ambulances stood by and body bags were laid out in an area cleared of debris, as firefighters used hand picks and chain saws to clear an indescribable jumble of broken timber, plastic sheets, roofs, sludge, twisted cars, tangled powerlines and household goods.

Helicopters buzzed overhead, surveying the destruction that spanned the horizon. Ships were flipped over near roads, a half-mile (a kilometer) inland. Officials said one-third of the city of 38,000 people was flooded and thousands were missing.

In addition to the more than 2,800 people who have been confirmed dead, more than 1,400 were missing. Another 1,900 were injured.

Japanese officials have refused to speculate on how high the death toll could rise, but experts who dealt with the 2004 Asian tsunami offered a dire outlook.

“It’s a miracle really, if it turns out to be less than 10,000 (dead),” said Hery Harjono, a senior geologist with the Indonesian Science Institute, who was closely involved with the aftermath of earlier disaster that killed 230,000 people — of which only 184,000 bodies were found.

He drew parallels between the two disasters — notably that many bodies in Japan may have been sucked out to sea or remain trapped beneath rubble as they did in Indonesia’s hardest-hit Aceh province. But he also stressed that Japan’s infrastructure, high-level of preparedness and city planning to keep houses away from the shore could mitigate their human losses.

The Japanese government has sent 100,000 troops to lead the aid effort. It has sent 120,000 blankets, 120,000 bottles of water and 29,000 gallons (110,000 liters) of gasoline plus food to the affected areas. However, electricity will take days to restore.

According to public broadcaster NHK, some 430,000 people are living in emergency shelters or with relatives. Another 24,000 people are stranded, it said.

One reason for the loss of power is the damage several nuclear reactors in the area. At one plant, Fukushima Dai-ichi, three reactors have lost the ability to cool down, the latest on Monday. Explosions have destroyed the containment buildings of the other two reactors. Fuel rods at the third were fully explosed, at least briefly, on Monday.

Operators were dumping sea water into all three reactors in a last-ditch attempt to cool their superheated containers that faced possible meltdown. If that happens, they could release radioactive material in the air.

But Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said the inner containment vessel holding the nuclear fuel rods at the reactor that experienced an explosion Monday was intact, allaying some fears of the risk to the environment. The containment vessel of the first reactor is also safe, according to officials.

Still, people within a 12-mile (20-kilometer) radius were ordered to stay inside homes following the blast. AP journalists felt Monday’s explosion 25 miles (40 kilometers) away.

Military personnel on helicopters returning to ships with the U.S. 7th Fleet registered low-level of radioactive contamination Monday, but were cleared after a scrub-down. As a precaution, the ship shifted to a different area off the coast.

More than 180,000 people have evacuated the area around the plants in recent days.

Also, Tokyo Electric Power held off on imposing rolling blackouts planned for Monday, but called for people to try to limit electricity use.

Edano said the utility was still prepared to go ahead with power rationing if necessary. The decision reflected an understanding of the profound inconveniences many would experience.

Many regional train lines were suspended or operating on a limited schedule to help reduce the power load.

Japan’s central bank injected 15 trillion yen (US$184 billion) into money markets Monday to stem worries about the world’s third-largest economy.

Stocks fell Monday on the first business day after the disasters. The benchmark Nikkei 225 stock average shed nearly 634 points, or 6.2 percent, to 9,620.49, extending losses from Friday. Escalating concerns over the fallout of the disaster triggered a plunge that hit all sectors. The broader Topix index lost 7.5 percent.

Japan’s economy has been ailing for 20 years, barely managing to eke out weak growth between slowdowns. It is saddled by a massive public debt that, at 200 percent of gross domestic product, is the biggest among industrialized nations.

Preliminary estimates put repair costs from the earthquake and tsunami in the tens of billions of dollars — a huge blow for an already fragile economy that lost its place as the world’s No. 2 to China last year.

16 Comments
  1. StuckInNJ says:

    http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2011/03/japan_is_not_haiti.html

    Japan is not Haiti ….

    Here is what to expect in the coming months out of the disaster that has affected Northeast Japan:

    How do I know …. 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 7 story apartment building ended up being 4 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 material 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, cutting in front

    Within hours … clean-up began by everyone .. students, teachers, seniors, yakuza, politicians. Everyone seemed to be contributing in some way.

    As a foreigner, I was treated like everyone else ….

    .
    Result:

    By the time I left Japan 4 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 going on 10 years.

    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. Probably the best thing we can do is provide helicopters, portable medical facilities and staffing if requested and search sniffing dogs.

    14th March 2011 at 12:23 pm

  2. StuckInNJ says:

    http://www.realclearworld.com/news/reuters/international/2011/Mar/13/special_report__japan_quake_unlikely_to_shock_economy.html

    .
    Special Report: Japan quake unlikely to shock economy
    Alan Wheatley, Global Economics Correspondent

    BEIJING (Reuters) – The earthquake that devastated northeast Japan displaced the country’s main island by 2.4 meters and even tilted the axis of the Earth by nearly 10 centimeters. The shock sounds awesome but it was imperceptible. History suggests the same will be true of the economic impact.

    The instinctive reaction when viewing the extensive damage and frantic efforts to secure damaged nuclear reactors is to assume economic havoc will follow.

    But researchers who have studied similar disasters in rich countries reach a reassuring conclusion: human resilience and resourcefulness, allied to an ability to draw down accumulated wealth, enable economies to rebound quickly from what seem at first to be unbearable inflictions – be it the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York or Friday’s 8.9-magnitude earthquake, the worst in Japan’s history.

    Japan itself provides Exhibit No. 1 in foretelling the arc of recovery. A 6.8-magnitude temblor struck the western city of Kobe on January 17, 1995, killing 6,400 people and causing damage estimated at 10 trillion yen, or 2 percent of Japan’s gross domestic product.

    The importance of Kobe’s container port, then the world’s sixth-largest, and the city’s location between Osaka and western Japan made it more significant for the economy than the more sparsely populated region where the latest quake and tsunami struck. Extensive disruption ensued, yet Japan’s industrial production, after falling 2.6 percent in January 1995, rose 2.2 percent that February and another 1.0 percent in March. GDP for the whole of the first quarter of 1995 rose at an annualized rate of 3.4 percent.

    “Despite the scale of the disaster, it is hard to find much evidence in the macroeconomic data of the effects of the Kobe earthquake,” said Richard Jerram, chief Asian economist at Macquarie in Singapore and a veteran Japan-watcher.

    Indeed, Takuji Okubo, chief Japan economist at Societe Generale in Tokyo, noted that Japan’s economy grew by 1.9 percent in 1995 and 2.6 percent in 1996, above the country’s trend growth rate at the time of 1.5 percent. Private consumption, government spending and, especially, public fixed investment all grew above average in 1995 and 1996, Okubo said in a report. By analogy, the medium-term impact on growth from the latest quake was also likely to be positive, he said.

    Today’s circumstances are, of course, different. Japan’s economy has floundered in the intervening 16 years and its public finances have deteriorated. On paper, the country, is perhaps less well prepared at this stage of the economic cycle to pick itself up off its feet.

    But Mark Skidmore, an economics professor at Michigan State University, attaches greater importance to a rich society’s capacity to constantly adapt to the risks it faces. In the case of Japan, prone to regular earthquakes, this means improving its disaster response systems and adopting the latest techniques to help buildings withstand shocks.

    Most of the damage wrought in Japan was by the ensuing tsunami, for which there was no time to prepare, and not by collapsing buildings – even though the quake was 1,000 times more powerful than the Kobe one.

    “We don’t know yet how devastating this is going to be economically, or even in terms of human casualties, but Kobe was able to rebound very quickly and I think there is the same potential here,” Skidmore said in a telephone interview.

    Skidmore and Hideki Toya from Nagoya City University in Japan have examined data for 151 countries over the period 1960-2003 and found that countries with higher levels of income, education and financial development suffer fewer losses from a natural disaster. Other researchers have reached similar conclusions.

    “As incomes rise in a society, you can devote more resources to safety. So economies that have relatively high exposure to earthquakes or hurricanes start taking the precautions they need. Japan is among the best prepared in the world because they have high exposure and high income,” Skidmore said.

    OPENNESS TO TRADE

    Countries with an openness to trade are also better able to cope with disasters because they create supply chains as well as commercial and diplomatic relationships that prove to be important. A well-oiled, well-financed government that can spring into action and limit the spillovers of the disaster is also crucial. This bodes well for Japan.

    “They have the resources. They have the social and economic and government infrastructure to effectively utilize the resources that may come in from outside as well as internally. They can focus not just insurance but also government assistance to respond effectively,” Skidmore said.

    Another U.S. academic who has studied the lessons from Kobe, the late George Horwich of Purdue University, noted that media reports said it could take the city as long as a decade to recover. In the event, within 15 months manufacturing in Kobe was at 98 percent of its pre-disaster trend; imports had fully recovered within a year and exports were back at 85 percent capacity; and 79 percent of shops had reopened by July 1996.

    “Natural disasters in large advanced economies tend not to significantly reduce current aggregate output or induce an associated rise in the general price level. In geographically dispersed economies, disasters are almost always localized events. But in any economy, it is the capital stock, not output, that is directly reduced by the disaster,” he wrote in a paper published in 2000.

    Horwich concluded that physical capital is the most visible contributor to economic recovery but human capital is the dominant economic resource. And Japan has that in spades.

    “Destroy any amount of physical capital, but leave behind a critical number of knowledgeable human beings whose brains still house the culture and technology of a dynamic economy, and the physical capital will tend to reemerge almost spontaneously,” he said.

    The 2008 earthquake in the western Chinese province of Sichuan, which killed nearly 90,000 people, is in line with the academic finding that strong institutions and human capital are central to the process of recovery.

    As a developing country, China had not made enough buildings earthquake-resistant. Many schools crumbled. Yet the ruling Communist Party mobilized vast resources for rescue, relief and reconstruction. As a result, according to a government think tank, the disaster actually added an estimated 0.3 percentage point to China’s GDP growth in 2008. Less than three years on, the office charged with reconstruction has been disbanded, its work complete, an official said on Sunday.

    Compare and contrast with Haiti, the most impoverished country in the Western Hemisphere. The 7.0 magnitude quake that struck on January 12, 2010, was much less powerful than that in Japan, but it killed at least 250,000 people, injured 300,000, left 1.5 million homeless and wrecked large parts of the capital, Port-au-Prince.

    With weak finances and no emergency fund to tap, Haiti’s economy slumped at least 5 percent last year, and the release of billions of dollars in international aid has been too slow to settle the homeless and get basic services running again, let alone spur an economic recovery. A cholera epidemic and political instability over contested elections reflect the failures of reconstruction efforts and in turn have made recovery even more difficult.

    Haiti’s woes confirm the findings of numerous researchers that poverty, high unemployment, limited access for the poor to basic services and a lack of strong national and local institutions amplify the economic blow of natural disasters.

    “The impacts of natural disasters on society and the environment are substantially greater in less developed countries,” according to a paper by Reinhard Mechler, who heads the research group on disasters and development at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis near Vienna.

    INDIAN OCEAN TSUNAMI

    Another case in point is Aceh, at the northern tip of the Indonesian island of Sumatra, which bore the brunt of the Indian Ocean tsunami of December 26, 2004.

    Of the 230,000 people killed by the speeding, towering waves, 167,000 were from Aceh, which suffered total damage of about $4.5 billion. A big relief effort was launched, but more than two years later a report from the Asian Development Bank Institute said key reconstruction targets had not been met and coordination among the many government agencies and international donors was poor.

    With Aceh accounting for just 2 percent of Indonesia’s economy, the catastrophe was not enough to move the needle of the country’s GDP. But, as with Haiti, the shortcomings of the region’s recovery stood In stark contrast to the experience in Kobe.

    After the initial loss of output, disasters in advanced economies do not invariably result in a boost to economic activity.

    Gus Faucher, director of macroeconomics at Moody’s Economy.com, a consultancy, has cited the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans in 2005: the city did not experience an economic bounce because so many residents left, government aid was slow to arrive and insurance payments were low.

    But, as a rule of thumb, reconstruction jobs and the influx of emergency assistance apply balm to an economy’s wounds. Take the 6.7 magnitude Northridge quake near Los Angeles in 1994 that killed 57 people, injured 9,000 and resulted in about $40 billion in property damage.

    Daniel Blake, an economics professor at California State University Northridge, found a year later that the $18 billion in aid and insurance payments made by the federal government actually jump-started the area’s fragile economy after four years of recession.

    And after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, which severely damaged major roads around the San Francisco Bay, an official estimate put the Bay Area’s lost economic output at between $181 million and $725 million, a fraction of its 1989 gross regional product of $174 billion. Indeed, the California Trade and Commerce Agency later found that the Bay Area even managed to do better than many parts of the state in weathering the early 1990s recession.

    A more recent example is that of Chile, where 500 people died in an 8.8 magnitude quake in February 2010 that caused an estimated $30 billion hit to the economy due to damaged infrastructure and property and lost productivity.

    Both the government and central bank trimmed their growth outlooks after the quake, estimating it could shave around 0.25 to 0.5 percentage point off annual growth. But the economy grew about 5.2 percent in 2010, within the original range of projections. With the state only halfway through its rebuilding programme, GDP growth this quarter is likely to accelerate to around 8 percent.

    “The impact of reconstruction on growth is becoming stronger as time goes on,” said Finance Minister Felipe Larrain, who financed an $8.4 billion recovery package with a mix of bond issues, higher royalties levied on mining companies and savings from a boom in copper, Chile’s principal export.

    So what does all this mean for Japan?

    Pete Wilson, California’s governor at the time of the Northridge quake in 1994, says it was important to cut through red tape. By waiving the requirement for environmental impact hearings and setting incentives for building contractors, Wilson told Reuters he managed to reopen Interstate 10, then the world’s busiest road, in just over two months. Some had feared it would take two years.

    Chile’s experience shows that a government is perfectly justified in resorting to deficit spending to cushion a natural disaster because of the shot in the arm it delivers to the economy, said Alfredo Coutino, Latin America director for Moody’s Analytics.

    “If one lesson can be learned from Chile’s case, it is that Japan’s government has to make a quick move in terms of implementing the reconstruction with a variety of funding sources: issue debt, reallocation of public resources, and international aid,” he said.

    Japan’s problem is that its gross public debt, equal to about twice GDP, is already the heaviest in the world. With an aging population posing an ever-growing burden on Japan’s public finances, rating agencies have sounded the alarm and warned of possible downgrades unless politicians bury the hatchet and come up with a plan to reduce the debt over the medium term.

    “The earthquake should lead to somewhat expansionary fiscal policy. However, due to its already large deficit, it is unlikely that the Japanese government would plan a large scale fiscal stimulus,” said Okubo, the Societe Generale economist.

    YEN WILD CARD

    The reaction of the yen in coming weeks is another wild card in assessing the impact on Japan’s economy. The Bank of Japan, which meets on Monday, is widely expected to pledge as much money as needed to prevent the repercussions of the quake from destabilizing financial markets and the banking system.

    Economists also expect the central bank will signal its readiness to ease monetary policy further — even though its policy rate is already near zero — if the damage from the quake threatens Japan’s fragile economic recovery.

    That prospect would normally weaken the yen, but economists are keenly aware that the Japanese currency gained sharply in the weeks after the Kobe catastrophe. It rose from 96 per dollar in late February and briefly punched through 80 to an all-time high on April 19, 1995, before reversing course after the BOJ cut interest rates.

    Trade tensions with the United States were a driving force in 1995 and are absent today. A rush to bring capital back to Japan, especially by insurers anticipating large claims, was also a factor post-Kobe and could be again. But Jerram, the Macquarie economist, doubted that history would repeat itself.

    “Significant yen repatriation that could push the currency higher and, at an extreme, disrupt global markets, looks unlikely,” he said.

    Another “known unknown” is whether serious damage to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant will cause countries including Britain, China and Italy to reappraise plans to boost investment in nuclear power. If they do, it would be logical to expect higher oil, natural gas and coal prices.

    “A serious accident like that will have repercussions in all countries with nuclear,” Bertrand Barre, scientific adviser to French nuclear reactor maker Areva, told Reuters.

    If there are clear lessons, we will apply them. We need to take time to work out the consequences and act.

    Japan’s earthquake is just the latest in a series of unwanted shocks for the world economy, which is still far from having shaken off the fallout of the 2008 global financial crisis. Political turmoil in North Africa has reduced oil supplies from Libya and raised the specter of wider disruptions to deliveries from the Middle East.

    Food prices have climbed to record highs. The euro zone debt crisis is far from over, with bond yields for Greece, Ireland and Portugal at seemingly unsustainable levels. Policy makers in the main economies who have slashed interest rates close to zero and run up huge budget deficits would appear to have little ammunition left to fire if consumer, business and investor confidence takes a dive because of Japanese quake.

    But economists at J.P. Morgan said it was important to bear in mind that most, if not all of these shocks will prove to be temporary and are unfolding against a backdrop of very strong fundamental supports for growth, including booming industrial production, improving labor markets and a 17 percent rise in global share prices since September.

    The bank has recently trimmed its forecasts for the United States and the euro zone but its projection for global growth in the first half of 2011 remains at a rate of 3.7 percent, which is 1 percentage point above trend.

    “Put differently, the shocks to date would have to magnify considerably to push global growth below this trendline.” the J.P. Morgan economists said in their latest Global Data Watch publication.

    (Additional reporting by Braden Reddall in San Francisco, Simon Gardner in Santiago and Kieron Murray in Mexico City)

    14th March 2011 at 12:27 pm

  3. Reverse Engineer says:

    So Stuck, I see you have appointed yourself the Annie of TBP?
    0.jpg

    The sun’ll come out
    Tomorrow
    Bet your bottom dollar
    That tomorrow
    There’ll be sun!
    Just thinkin’ about
    Tomorrow
    Clears away the cobwebs,
    And the sorrow
    ‘Til there’s none!
    When I’m stuck a day
    That’s gray,
    And lonely,
    I just stick out my chin
    And Grin,
    And Say,
    Oh
    The sun’ll come out
    Tomorrow
    So ya gotta hang on
    ‘Til tomorrow
    Come what may
    Tomorrow!
    Tomorrow!
    I love ya
    Tomorrow!
    You’re always
    A day
    A way!

    Enough with the optimism already, you are ruining the atmosphere around here.

    RE

    14th March 2011 at 12:47 pm

  4. StuckInNJ says:

    RE — quit raining on my fuckin parade!!!!!! LOL

    I admire the Japanese a lot. If anyone can pull through this … and quickly, they can.

    Watching the videos of hundreds if not thousands of people standing in line for water and Ramen Noodles (seriously, that’s what they were handing out) … and NO pushing, NO fighting, NO anger, NO looting ….. seeing men carrying older folks on their backs … everybody just doing the best they can ………… it makes me feel there is some good left in humanity.

    14th March 2011 at 12:57 pm

  5. Reverse Engineer says:

    @ Stuck

    Yea, those Nips really have their act together. Think how much better life would be if they had won the war.

    RE

    14th March 2011 at 1:08 pm

  6. StuckInNJ says:

    RE — I don’t know if you’re being sarcastic, attempting to be funny, or just hateful.

    FYI — WWII ended 66 years ago. Most of those people are dead. The dead and dying “Nips” TODAY had NOTHING to do with what happened sixty six years ago. Try to get a grip on reality.

    14th March 2011 at 1:18 pm

  7. Welshman says:

    RE was pissing on your parade Stuck. Yes, the Japanese are resilient, but they had to print 185
    billion in funny money to stabilize the system. Everyone of these body blows is cascading the world to insolvency.

    14th March 2011 at 2:21 pm

  8. Reverse Engineer says:

    Stuck, you rained on my Parade yesterday. Payback time.

    RE

    14th March 2011 at 4:32 pm

  9. howard in nyc says:

    stuck–thanks for sharing your experience. this is different than the kobe quake situation. their economy is sucking wind, the radiation fears which has got to mess with the cultural psyche in a unique way, and now today the government credibility problem.

    but as you point out, the japanese people are different. their society reacts and behaves very different than others. thanks for the example of that.

    14th March 2011 at 4:38 pm

  10. llpoh says:

    Admin says: “They don’t have the financial wherewithal to recover from this disaster.”

    Most of the sites I have found suggest that the US owes Japan +$600 billion. That would seem to me to be enough to cover this calamity, if they pull their money back.

    The US may get a big financial jolt out of this.

    14th March 2011 at 7:56 pm

  11. Administrator says:

    llpoh

    You’re right. They will be selling their existing US Treasuries and will be buying none of our $1.5 trillion annual new issuance. Their debt to GDP is already 200%. The U.S. ratio is 90% of GDP. This will hurt the whole world. Commodity prices will rise, along with interest rates.

    14th March 2011 at 8:03 pm

  12. LLPOH says:

    Fuck me dead. I am printing out Admin’s last comment, and am having it embossed on gold leaf, and put in a silver frame. I don’t think I have ever been right before.

    14th March 2011 at 8:09 pm

  13. MuckAbout says:

    Do you know the most touching and inspiring pictures I saw today was in Soma. It was a video of a middle aged man, in rubber boots, all by himself, pushing a wheel barrow full of debris from the lot where his home once stood.

    All by himself, without a whimper or a whine, he got a wheel barrow, started in that corner and went that-a-way. One load of broken timbers and rubbish at a time. He said he was rebuilding on the same spot and you know what? I’ll bet money he will too.

    That’s the attitude we used to have in America when it was my America. If that happened here, the people would magically be victims, sit around and weep, bitch and moan for “someone” to help them.

    That one old Japanese man shows more balls and guts than anyone in this country when TSHTF. The thing is, he doesn’t think he’s doing anything out of the ordinary. But he is. I wish I could get a contact for him, I’d send HIM some support..

    MA

    14th March 2011 at 8:43 pm

  14. LLPOH says:

    He will need to rebuild 8 feet over if he is gonna rebuild onthe same spot. Just sayin’.

    14th March 2011 at 8:53 pm

  15. MuckAbout says:

    @llpoh: Doesn’t matter. What it illustrated was spunk and “Ok, things went to shit” and “get on with it”.

    Besides everything is relative. If his house site is 12 feet closer to the USA and down 8 feet from where it was, so is everything else around him..

    It’s the same attitude that drove some Japanese soldiers in the Philippines to keep trying to fight WWII for forty years after it was over. It isn’t stupidity, it’s balls and a sense of honor and self-responsibility sadly lacking in whatever this country is any more.

    But you knew what I was driving at, didn’t you..

    MA

    14th March 2011 at 9:10 pm

  16. LLPOH says:

    Muck – I was being funny. I am not a big fan of the Japanese. Their sense of honor didn’t extend to other races – the committed unbelievable atrocities during WWII. I do not think things have changed much – they still seem to hate other races, but keep that fact relatively well hid. They do have a good work ethic and sense of community – I give them that. But they see themselves as above all others. Multiculturalism isn’t for them.

    14th March 2011 at 9:44 pm

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