Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Japan's Triple Tragedy: Open Thread

Sadly, it now appears that early estimates of 80,000 dead as a result of Friday’s Earthquake and Tsunami may not be short of the mark.

This ‘Help Japan’ poster is available at the Signalnoise store, with all profits going to disaster relief.

Japanese death toll to far exceed 10,000

Tens of thousands believed to have died as result of tsunami and huge earthquake that triggered it.

From the Guardian photo essay: A woman cries while sitting on a road amid the destroyed city of Natori

A survivor pushes his bicycle through the devastated town of Otsuchi

A member of the Japanese Self-Defence Force rescues a four-month-old girl in Ishinomaki

To add to that dual tragedy of earthquake and tsunami, the country now has to face the possibility of nuclear contamination, with all the historical weight of Hiroshima and Nagasaki looming like a nightmare from the past.

With Japanese engineers now fighting, at considerable risk to themselves, a meltdown at Fukushima’s MOX reactor Number Two, while still struggling with the cooling issues at 1&3 after hydrogen explosions, consider this an open thread to explore the threats that still face the Japanese people when they are only just now beginning to bury their dead.

What will the repercussions be for the World Economy of the sudden drop in Japanese output? And what about the future of the Nuclear Industry? Angela Merkel has already put new Germany nuclear power construction on hold.


  1. Hollede

    is dealing with three ongoing and massive catastrophes. One 8.9 magnitude earthquake (followed by hundreds of earthquakes that are still occurring), a devastating tsunami (with continued warnings due to the aftershocks), and a probable nuclear disaster.

    It is simply unimaginable.  

  2. Libyan ‘rebel capital’ threatened,

    Gaddafi forces inch towards opposition stronghold of Benghazi while wrangle over UN decision on no-fly zone crawls.

    Can we just all agree to send in some UN/Arab League jets to pound that son of a bitch now? With all the real problems in the world, it is hard to believe we will watch millions of people fall back under an insane dictator? Another 80,000 could be killed (many slowly with incredible evil intent) because of the social dance about semantics we all understand.

    Give me a jet. I’ll bomb the bastard right now.  

  3. Elch

    It looks like Germany is going to temporarily shutdown eight older nuclear reactors , all been built before 1980, in order to inspect their current safety levels.

    This news has to be seen not only in the context of the desaster in Japan, but also because the are elections going on…

  4. Shaun Appleby

    But reassuring somehow.  This little girl wanted the radiation testing for her teddy-bear too.

    Seeing this is when I cracked, through all this, and just started crying.

  5. Shaun Appleby

    If you wondered about the operators fighting this disaster, read this:

    The workers are being asked to make escalating – and perhaps existential – sacrifices that so far are being only implicitly acknowledged: Japan’s Health Ministry said Tuesday it was raising the legal limit on the amount of radiation to which each worker could be exposed, to 250 millisieverts from 100 millisieverts, five times the maximum exposure permitted for American nuclear plant workers.

    The change means that workers can now remain on site longer, the ministry said. “It would be unthinkable to raise it further than that, considering the health of the workers,” the health minister, Yoko Komiyama, said at a news conference.

    Tokyo Electric Power, the plant’s operator, has said almost nothing at all about the workers, including how long a worker is expected to endure exposure.

    The few details Tokyo Electric has made available paint a dire picture. Five workers have died since the quake and 22 more have been injured for various reasons, while two are missing. One worker was hospitalized after suddenly grasping his chest and finding himself unable to stand, and another needed treatment after receiving a blast of radiation near a damaged reactor. Eleven workers were injured in a hydrogen explosion at reactor No. 3.

    Keith Bradshaw and Hiroko Tabuchi – Last Defense at Troubled Reactors: 50 Japanese Workers NYT 15 Mar 11

    There’s got to be a bright spot in the darkest day.  The human spirit.

  6. spacemanspiff




    Wednesday, March 16, 2011 at 13:42:32 UTC

    Wednesday, March 16, 2011 at 09:42:32 AM at epicenter


    18.986°N, 67.954°W


    33.7 km (20.9 miles)




    120 km (74 miles) NW of Mayaguez, Puerto Rico

    124 km (77 miles) ENE of La Romana, Dominican Republic

    199 km (123 miles) WNW of SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico

    1466 km (910 miles) ESE of Miami, Florida

    No major damage was done but having the ground shake is not something I can get used to.

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