Posts Tagged ‘earthquake’

Japan’s Disaster in Perspective

April 12, 2011

I admire the Japanese – they are an honorable people – stoic, patient, kind, humble. Since the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear catastrophes, through physical displacement of entire cities and fear of radiation affects shared by everyone in the country, the people have remained calm and tolerant of the impact to their lives. I don’t think that Americans would behave so well…

I want to put the loss from these catastrophes into some perspective according simply to population. Some assumptions:

  • Japan’s population of approximately 130 million compares to the US population of approximately 310 million or about 40%.
  • Loss of Japanese lives is estimated to be about 20,000 which translates to about 50,000 for the same proportional impact here in the US.
  • Financial loss is estimated to be $300B in Japan which translates to about $750B for the same proportional impact here in the US.

This is a terrible tragedy. I am glad to report that my Japanese friends and their families are all safe and well, but there is a muted mood – a pall I sense when I correspond that I suspect will remain for a long time to come. I feel like we need to learn something from the Japanese experience – that there is something significant and important to take away. I don’t know what it is, yet, except perhaps that the Japanese are demonstrating to the rest of the world how a civilized society behaves in the face of tragedy and adversity – with a great deal of mutual respect for one another. I hope that the rest of the world notices that, and that Americans help the Japanese in some meaningful way to recover and put this tragedy fully in the past…