A small island chain nation within the Pacific ring of fire, Japan will always have more than her fair share of natural disasters. Although Japan is a crowded, highly, technologically advanced nation which takes earthquake and seismic events very seriously, it is easy to understand how a major quake and tsunami will once again wreak devastation to come.
In Japan, Earthquake preparedness is an every day event, sadly, that very preparation can leave people to become complacent. In 2011, the earthquake and tsunami to hit Sendai, and other coastal regions, resulted in complete evacuation of the area surrounding the Fukushima nuclear power plant. Critics, however, point out that by nature of national pride, Japan might underestimate the dangers and preparedness measures.
The Japanese live twenty four hours a day, and seven days a week, in a zone that has 1500 earthquakes every year (most of them small), and they expect them as a matter of routine. They also have more than 500 volcanoes on hand, several of which are quite active. Add to that the immensity of the surrounding seas, the cold winters which bring snow and potential floods, mudslides, and a “perfect storm” of all these elements and one can see that natural disasters will always affect Japan
Japan also suffered a magnitude 6.8 earthquake in 1995, in Kobe. There were more than 6,000 people killed, and a whole new infrastructure put into place. In every city, and in nearly every generation, the earthquakes and tsunamis strike again. It is estimated that Japan suffers 1,000 fatalities per every 35 years that is for each and every generation, a significant number of deaths is projected for the next unspecified disaster to come.
In the year 1923, Japan was hit by a major quake near Kanto, south of Tokyo. Affects were severe and fires erupted from toppled stoves. Tokyo again braced herself for more and has not had as yet, as major a hit as 1923.
But scientists predict a modern quake of close to 8.0 magnitude would be even worse. Deaths are predicted to exceed 10,000 people, with up to a million or more people left homeless.
It must also be observed that no disaster happens in an isolated incident. This was the great take-away lesson of Fukushima, and Sendai. In addition to nuclear disasters are fires, floods, droughts, and even famines which can accumulate from the ripples of so much destruction that scours the land.
It is no wonder that Japan gave the world the 1950s and 1960s sci-fi epic movies which combined the awakening of giant dinosaurs and mutant monsters with natural disasters. It is also no wonder that Japan has a historical, and sometimes hysterical, expression of the arts through anime, martial arts, music and dance. In a culture where politeness and non-expression is the norm, all this tension must be expressed somewhere.