musasabi journal
粘り強い国の地震・津波・原発:The Times特派員のレポート

3月17日付のThe Timesのサイトに、東京特派員のRichard Lloyd Parryが東北大地震についてのレポートを書いています。仙台からのレポートです。題して「最悪の事態が起こったとしても、この粘り強い国の対応は世界の模範となるであろう」(If the worst happens, this resilient nation’s response will set an example to the world)。Lloyd Parryは英国のジャーナリストとして日本で暮らすこと16年になるそうです。


What, then, will be the effect of the recent body blows? Will they force a reeling nation to its knees? Or will the Japanese react as they have so many times and emerge from this dark hour with unity, purpose and that most Japanese of virtues, “fighting spirit”?

It is impossible to make such grand judgments after five days, with the reactors overheating and the bodies still lying under the sodden ruins. But whatever the performance of the government on the nuclear crisis, it is clear that ordinary Japanese people have emerged with outstanding credit and demonstrated once again the strengths of their remarkable society.
They are undemonstrative qualities, which become most obvious in the things that are not taking place. There have been no reports of significant looting. Despite the shortages of food, water and petrol, prices are at much the same levels they were last week. In the queues at shops and petrol stations, no one shoves or argues or sounds his car horn.

Japanese hospitality is uneroded. In Sendai, the City Office was opened up as a dormitory for homeless travellers, and I left with several packets of biscuits pressed on me by solicitous strangers. This became positively uncomfortable at the evacuation centre in the town of Shiogama where, despite struggling to find dinner for a thousand refugees, they would not hear of me leaving without a couple of fish sausages.

There is no doubt at all that Japan will recover from the earthquake and tsunami, and will do so at a pace that will impress the world. The nuclear leak is a different kind of crisis, infinitely more complicated by comparison. By building so many nuclear power stations in such a seismically active country, Japan has been proven to have shown disastrously bad judgment. The way that the government handles the next few days and weeks, the frankness with which it shares information and the skill with which it executes any necessary evacuation, will be immense challenges that will test its competence unforgivingly.

However, even if the worst happens and a mass radiation leak leads to a panicked exodus, it will be less ugly, chaotic and frightening than it would be anywhere else in the world. Once again, the Japanese have shown their singularity in the past few days. I feel proud to live among them.



▼それにしても、一番よくやっていると思うのは被災者の方々です。自分たちが腹ぺこのはずなのに、Lloyd Parryにかまぼこを持って行けと言って譲らない人々です。とにかく今は彼らと団結して、被災者と共にあるしかない。疲れたなんて贅沢ってもんだ。


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