How Screwed is Japan?

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March 11 marked the beginning of very bad times for Japan. A 9.0 earthquake shook up Japan and destroyed a lot of towns. There was also a tsunami which had literally devastated the country, especially in the coasts. What was most shocking was the devastation caused at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. The authorities had a very tough time in trying to battle a problem which came as a result of the earthquake and that is by somehow controlling the radioactive material in the Japanese reactors.

After March 11, Japan was hit again with 2 earthquakes and both of them were more or less devastating. Thankfully, the damage in the next 2 earthquakes wasn’t so much considering the fact that everyone was already alert by then. Whatever could be damaged was already damaged and major reconstruction hadn’t taken place.

One month has been completed since March 11 and the situation has deteriorated further. The biggest problem arose when Fukushima was hit. Now the good part was that most reactors in Japan is not hastily built. It is built with a lot of planning and a lot of money is spent on them. Damage to the plant was somehow made less. Now imagine what if the plant was hastily built without much consideration, the damage would have been worse, probably just like Chernobyl or even worse.

Image via Wikipedia

Japan is in serious trouble. Generally, the situation gets better by the day after any catastrophe. But this earthquake has turned the tables. With every passing day, it has become tougher for Japan to tackle the crisis. What is more worrisome is that seismologists predict that there are going to be more earthquakes like this for a whole year and that is very bad news.

To begin with, Japan is a very prosperous nation. It is the 3rd largest economy in the world and it is a feat to have such a small country being the world’s third largest economy. It has achieved so much progress in a very short time when we see that Japan was literally crushed after World War 2. For such a rich nation, clearly it would be somewhat easy to come in terms of their loss.

Image via Wikipedia

But the loss in Japan is bad. Japan has virtually no resources of itself. Japan’s wealth lies in processing, manufacturing and service sectors. Power is crucial to Japan. Without power, very little can actually happen. Fukushima being a nuclear plant, provides a lot of electricity for the country. Power from a nuclear plant is much more than a coal plant, almost a 100 times more. Japan has relied on nuclear power plants to provide them with the energy they need to power their economy. And each nuclear plant is big with many reactors. Fukushima had 6 reactors which were damaged in the earthquake.

Now if you analyze how screwed Japan is as of now, you’ll find that its shape is really bad. First of all, the government is still tackling the Fukushima crisis. Fukushima has become as bad as Chernobyl. Thankfully though, adequate measures were taken in order to protect the local population from the radiation. The government is responsible for making sure that the situation does not get worse at Fukushima and also to somehow fix the damage done. They need to make sure that further radiation is not emitted out. Of course, all this is easier said than done. But it needs to be said out first.

The government has to deal with the evacuees from Fukushima as a result of the radiation leak and arrange for their evacuation and rehabilitation. That takes up a lot of resources.

Next, the government has to deal with the earthquake itself. Cities like Sendai has been devastated and literally been taken off the map. The government needs to arrange for the treatment of survivors and their rehabilitation. The government also needs to spend on clearing the debris as a result of the earthquakes and the tsunami. The amount of debris collected as a result is enormous. Clearing it will take up a lot of resources.

Then the government will have to focus somehow on restoring power. Fukushima has blacked out. There is lesser economic activity in Japan. Car-makers like Toyota has resumed only 50% work as they have very little power. Many industrial firms face the same problem. The problem is that the Japanese economy is very high-tech and very advanced. They rely on power to support their economy. Once their power is hit, they are bound to suffer. Especially when you see that major Japanese brands like Toyota and Nissan are struggling, then you are convinced that things are very bad in Japan. Japan simply can’t afford a slowdown in economic activity.

The problem is that the Japanese government cannot invest in reconstruction efforts of Japan because more earthquakes are predicted for Japan all year round. Any reconstruction stands a chance to be destroyed again, wasting precious money in the process.

The prediction of further earthquakes is a setback in helping Japan come back to normal. Japan needs money in order to sustain this very hard year that is ahead. Japan’s economy being strong will survive it for sure. But nevertheless, it is going to be a big drain on Japan’s resources and its money.

In short, Japan as of now, is really screwed and we all hope the Japanese will pull through such difficult times.

Copyright © 2011 AshwathKomath


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