In Midst of Crisis, Japanese People Show Strength and Compassion
March 11th marked Japan’s worst natural disaster to date. As we all know by now, a earthquake of 9.0 magnitude hit the east coast of Honshu that Friday afternoon, making it one of the largest earthquakes ever recorded. The destruction was exacerbated by a 23-foot tsunami that followed shortly after, sending the small island country into a spiral of human casualties and infrastructure meltdown.
In the wake of such destruction, a silver lining holds Japan together: the community itself. CNN reporter Fareed Zakaria conducted a timely interview with Sony CEO Howard Stringer, who called the Japanese strong and unselfish, not only in business — but also, as it turns out, in the face of calamity. Stringer’s comments on the current situation breathed some much-needed optimism into the tragic stories engulfing the press:
“A few days ago, people were spending their time carving chopsticks out of wreckage, sitting on the edge of a broken home as a group…trying to make the best out of a really bad job.”
The Japanese have demonstrated a rare, broad sweeping sense of rationality and even compassion. There have been no reports of looting and very little complaining from survivors, reports The Economist. Volunteers have been streaming in and the government is reacting responsibly. In Tokyo, people still wait in line to pay their taxes.
It’s not an eerie continuation of daily duties. Rather, it’s a type of tenacity that begs this question: could we live up to the Japanese standards of calm, cool, and collected if a disaster of similar scale happened to us?
Food for thought.
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TAGS: Fareed Zakaria • Howard Stringer • Japan earthquake • Japan tsunami
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