Five months ago, the most powerful earthquake in living memory hit Japan; just for good measure a tsunami and a nuclear meltdown
were thrown in. When Mother Nature decides to show Man who’s boss, she leaves no room for debate. We all remember the incredible scenes of the encroaching ocean throwing around cars, houses and ships as though they straws in the wind. The footage is all over YouTube, the BBC, and countless other websites. With the wisdom of hindsight, maybe some coastal areas should not have been so heavily occupied; they won’t be again, the government and the insurance companies will see to that.
The Japanese Government has certainly not been idle; at a press conference
last month, Prime Minister Naoto Kan said he is intent on moving the country away from nuclear power; he also outlined some of the measures his administration is taking towards reconstruction.
In the meantime, those who were lucky enough to survive the tsunami and earthquake are eking out an existence as best they can, some of them in tents inside a sports hall or in rapidly erected prefabricated villages. The Japanese Government cannot be blamed for this; one must also bear in mind that unlike Haiti – which has also suffered a devastating earthquake in recent years – Japan is a highly industrialised nation, so the perception is that it can deal with the aftermath of the catastrophe with little or no outside help. Whether or not that is the case, there is one measure Prime Minister Naoto Kan could take that would be immensely popular.
Some of the people left destitute by the tsunami are facing a double whammy, like the man interviewed
for a BBC Television report this morning. Now unemployed, he is currently living in a single room with his wife and teenage daughter, and is still expected to pay off the mortgage on his house, which no longer exists.
Just as the Federal Reserve can and does create billions or even trillions of dollars out of thin air, which are then mysteriously spirited away
, so can the Japanese Government, if it has the will, lift the crippling burden of debt on those left destitute by Mother Nature. These people have already lost everything; they should not be forced to pay twice.