A decade after the 3/11 disasters, what has Japan learned? The March 11, 2011, earthquake’s impact on the people and government of Japan has been both physical and philosophical, argues Kuni Miyake, as he lists the truths the nation should have gleaned from the triple calamity.
“Be prepared” might seem like the most obvious lesson, yet 10 years on, 20.5% of municipalities have no officials exclusively tasked with handling disaster responses, a Kyodo survey shows, while many localities have one designated disaster official who doubles up doing other jobs.
Also, despite the repeated warnings since 3/11 of the likelihood of a huge quake rocking the Nankai Trough in the coming years, Pacific coastal areas at risk of tsunami have made little progress on proposed pre-emptive mass relocation projects, largely due to the prohibitive costs involved, Jiji reports.
Survivors of the 3/11 disasters seem pretty sure of one thing, though: Having lived through the Fukushima No. 1 meltdowns and their aftermath, over 80% support abolishing nuclear power generation immediately or gradually, according to another Kyodo survey.
Almost immediately after the nuclear disaster, a shift in Japan toward renewable energy sources began to accelerate, writes Eric Johnston. The change has been given a boost by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s plan for Japan to become carbon neutral by 2050.
But many advocates of renewables — including Naoto Kan, the PM at the time of the disasters, who played a key role in setting the stage for the shift towards greater reliance on these energy sources — believe the government is not moving fast enough on the issue, leaving local governments frustrated.