Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Japan Marks 3rd Anniversary of Tsunami Disaster

Unknown Lamer posted about 7 months ago | from the lingering-effects dept.

Japan 77

AmiMoJo writes "Today Japan marks the third anniversary of the 11th of March 2011 disaster when the country was hit by a magnitude 9 earthquake huge tsunami and severe nuclear accident. More than 18,500 people were killed or went missing. Nearly 3,000 others died while evacuated from their homes, and over a quarter of a million people were still living in temporary housing as of February. Work to build new housing on higher ground is lagging behind schedule.

Three reactors melted down at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant following the quake and tsunami, but the exact cause of the accident is still unknown. How massive amounts of radioactive materials from the reactors were dispersed is also unclear. Today was also the day when hundreds of former residents announced that they were suing TEPCO, the plant operator, and the government for additional compensation."
Although the nuclear accident was dwarfed by the other devastation, the effects of the meltdown will be felt for much longer. The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists published an article today on the reactors that didn't meltdown, and the NRC chair has some comments on the progress at Fukishima.

cancel ×

77 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Dwarfed? yeah right (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46455815)

Although the nuclear accident was dwarfed by the other devastation,

Yet the nuclear accident is all people panic about, completely forgetting the actual tsunami.

Re:Dwarfed? yeah right (0)

i kan reed (749298) | about 7 months ago | (#46456015)

Yeah, but the amount of death, destruction, and long term economic cost was lower. This is like saying that the sun doesn't dwarf the earth because a lot of people don't know that.

Re:Dwarfed? yeah right (3, Insightful)

peon_a-z,A-Z,0-9$_+! (2743031) | about 7 months ago | (#46456049)

You mean the 20,000 deaths caused by the Tsunami compared to the 0 deaths related to anything nuclear, where the handful of deaths surrounding the incident were caused by inaction and fear of radiation?

http://fukushima.ans.org/

The physical effects of the Tsunami were incredibly more devastating than the Fukushima meltdown, however the psychological effects of the meltdown are truly staggering. It's a difference between facts and perception that, three years later, isn't going anywhere it seems. Nuclear is only scary if you don't look at what it actually is.

Re:Dwarfed? yeah right (1, Funny)

i kan reed (749298) | about 7 months ago | (#46456091)

There are two kinds of people, those that try to quantify everything, and an abstract, unclear bunch of other groups.

Re:Dwarfed? yeah right (1)

Drethon (1445051) | about 7 months ago | (#46456117)

Not quite sure what you are trying to say here, that numbers don't matter?

Re:Dwarfed? yeah right (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 7 months ago | (#46456169)

No, it was a joke. About how some people aren't quantifiers like us slashdotters have a natural tendency towards.

Re:Dwarfed? yeah right (1)

Drethon (1445051) | about 7 months ago | (#46456637)

Ah, sorry. My tendency to not be able to see subtlety sometimes results in trying to see it where none exists... or just misread things entirely.

Re:Dwarfed? yeah right (1)

asylumx (881307) | about 7 months ago | (#46457037)

One must not generalize.

Re:Dwarfed? yeah right (1)

khallow (566160) | about 7 months ago | (#46457639)

One must not generalize.

Yea, that's a group activity.

Re:Dwarfed? yeah right (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about 7 months ago | (#46457941)

One must not generalize.

Always? Or just in this specific case?

Re:Dwarfed? yeah right (1)

asylumx (881307) | about 7 months ago | (#46463737)

I can't tell if you got the joke and tried to pile on, or didn't get the joke.

Re:Dwarfed? yeah right (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about 7 months ago | (#46465255)

Maybe both?

Re:Dwarfed? yeah right (4, Insightful)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 7 months ago | (#46456337)

The key difference being that the tsunami was a natural disaster that was difficult to prevent. The Fukushima accident was caused by incompetence and could have been avoided, as it was at other nuclear plants.

Focusing on deaths is arbitrary and designed solely to try and underplay the devastating effects of the nuclear disaster on the people forced to evacuate and on Japan's economy. As TFA points out there are still too many unknowns to say exactly how bad Fukushima is.

Re:Dwarfed? yeah right (2, Informative)

peon_a-z,A-Z,0-9$_+! (2743031) | about 7 months ago | (#46456471)

Then you can focus on numbers other than $Deaths, like:

Some 160,000 people were evacuated as a precautionary measure, and prolonging the evacuation resulted in the deaths of about 1100 of them due to stress, and some due to disruption of medical and social welfare facilities.

http://www.world-nuclear.org/i... [world-nuclear.org]

Or perhaps look at a chart showing the magnitude of radiation around Fukushima with respect to time:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/2f/Fukushima7.png

There is always radiation around us from natural sources (cosmic, ground, foods), so when the background radiation of the surrounding area is at a normal level, then why are people concerned? The numbers don't add up, but the perception of fear continues.

Or you can use this number instead of deaths: (emphasis added)

...40 children newly diagnosed with thyroid cancer and other cancers in Fukushima prefecture 18 of which were diagnosed with thyroid cancer, but these cancers are not attributed to radiation from Fukushima, as similar patterns occurred before the accident in 2006 in Japan, with 1 in 100,000 children per year developing thyroid cancer in that year, that is, this is not higher than the pre-accident rate.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R... [wikipedia.org]

Re:Dwarfed? yeah right (3, Informative)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 7 months ago | (#46457499)

Some 160,000 people were evacuated as a precautionary measure, and prolonging the evacuation resulted in the deaths of about 1100 of them due to stress, and some due to disruption of medical and social welfare facilities.

So you are basically agreeing with me. There was no way to know how bad the disaster was at the time they evacuated, and the levels in the evacuation area above safe limits in parts so clearly it was necessary. Your map has hundreds of metres per pixel, it doesn't show hot spots which are the problem, only an average.

I'm not sure what your point is... It was a disaster, people died as a result.

Re:Dwarfed? yeah right (0)

peon_a-z,A-Z,0-9$_+! (2743031) | about 7 months ago | (#46459971)

I'm not agreeing, I'm just trying to point out a few more numbers that show the magnitude of the damage caused by radiation is significantly less than the magnitude of psychological damages and unwarranted fear of radiation that seems to espoused throughout the internet.

While not everyone is expected to be an informed citizen on every topic (nuclear science and engineering in this case), it's harmful to let dis-information spread and generate more fear.

Re:Dwarfed? yeah right (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 7 months ago | (#46462037)

But most of it isn't unwarranted fear of radiation, it was due to a necessary and prudent evacuation and the subsequent delays in returning due to high measured levels.

Re:Dwarfed? yeah right (0)

khallow (566160) | about 7 months ago | (#46458271)

The Fukushima accident was caused by incompetence and could have been avoided, as it was at other nuclear plants.

I glanced through your posts to get an idea of what you thought "incompetence" was. It appears [slashdot.org] that you think not building the seawall higher at Fukushima was an example and that you agree with the blithe and wrong assumption that it was "corporate culture" which was at fault - even though the same TEPCO corporate culture also existed at the Onagawa plant.

Focusing on deaths is arbitrary

Death is a very concrete measure of harm.

underplay the devastating effects of the nuclear disaster on the people forced to evacuate and on Japan's economy

Keep in mind that a lot of the harm comes from hysteria not nuclear accidents. For example, why are no Japanese nuclear plants on line? There's no safety issue for most of the nuclear plants which weren't effected by the earthquakes.

It reminds me of the few trillion dollars squandered by the US in the wake of 911 (for example, two wars, pumping up the global real estate market, and the intrusive security apparatus).

Re:Dwarfed? yeah right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46462507)

Death is a very concrete measure of harm.

911

Actually, death is a horrible way to measure harm, as it invites the tiger-repelling rock sellers, including those who brought you those two wars and security theater.

"The NSA prevents deaths! Do you see anybody dying to terrorists? No? There you go! And ObamaCare is saving lives!"

Re:Dwarfed? yeah right (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 7 months ago | (#46462957)

I glanced through your posts to get an idea of what you thought "incompetence" was. It appears that you think not building the seawall higher at Fukushima was an example and that you agree with the blithe and wrong assumption that it was "corporate culture" which was at fault - even though the same TEPCO corporate culture also existed at the Onagawa plant.

You are not very good at reading comprehension.

Death is a very concrete measure of harm.

Except that it ignores all the people who survived by are now suffering. In the case of Fukushima it is often chosen deliberately to ignore those people because the speaker is trying to make out that it was not very harmful.

For example, why are no Japanese nuclear plants on line? There's no safety issue for most of the nuclear plants which weren't effected by the earthquakes.

Actually there is. Many of them experienced near or above their lateral force limits during the earthquake, and it is standard procedure after one to shut down and do a full inspection to look for damage. It takes a lot of time to do, and since so many plants need inspecting by a limited number of qualified people it is taking even longer than usual.

New seismic surveys have also revealed previously undiscovered fault lines below several plants. They need to be investigated to determine if they present a significant safety risk.

The fact that these plants have not re-started has nothing to do with hysteria, it is simply that none of them have been able to demonstrate they are safe so far.

Re:Dwarfed? yeah right (0)

khallow (566160) | about 7 months ago | (#46465465)

You are not very good at reading comprehension.

That's what's written there. I'll quote it in full so we don't have this particular disagreement again:

The key paragraph:

Most people believe that Fukushima DaiichiÃ(TM)s meltdowns were predominantly due to the earthquake and tsunami. The survival of Onagawa, however, suggests otherwise. Onagawa was only 123 kilometers away from the epicenterÃ"60 kilometers closer than Fukushima DaiichiÃ"and the difference in seismic intensity at the two plants was negligible. Furthermore, the tsunami was bigger at Onagawa, reaching a height of 14.3 meters, compared with 13.1 meters at Fukushima Daiichi. The difference in outcomes at the two plants reveals the root cause of Fukushima DaiichiÃ(TM)s failures: the utilityÃ(TM)s corporate Ãoesafety culture.Ã

A natural disaster is a tragedy. A man-made disaster due to corporate culture is a crime.

TEPCO runs both the Fukushima Daiichi and Onagawa plants. It's the same corporate culture which in one case you laud and another you declare a "crime".

Also, note that Onagawa remains off line. When is it going to be rewarded for its good "corporate culture" by being allowed to restart?

Death is a very concrete measure of harm.

Except that it ignores all the people who survived by are now suffering. In the case of Fukushima it is often chosen deliberately to ignore those people because the speaker is trying to make out that it was not very harmful.

If we're going by that measure, the earthquake still caused a lot more suffering. Also a lot - if not most - of that suffering is self-inflicted. Why should TEPCO be shouldering the blame for other peoples' psychological faults?

Many of them experienced near or above their lateral force limits during the earthquake, and it is standard procedure after one to shut down and do a full inspection to look for damage.

And many did not. And for those that are being inspected, how many years does it take?

New seismic surveys have also revealed previously undiscovered fault lines below several plants. They need to be investigated to determine if they present a significant safety risk.

So what? You can still run the plant while you figure that out.

The fact that these plants have not re-started has nothing to do with hysteria, it is simply that none of them have been able to demonstrate they are safe so far.

That's the old safety theater game. These plants were operating safely for decades, but now they have to "demonstrate" beyond a reasonable degree that they're safe all over again.

Re:Dwarfed? yeah right (1)

david_thornley (598059) | about 7 months ago | (#46465167)

Are you sure other deaths from the tsunami couldn't have been prevented? Perhaps some of them could have been avoided if there hadn't been incompetence and official neglect. Even a few cases of badly placed construction and inadequate disaster planning could have resulted in a lot of deaths. We don't hear about those.

Many of the devastating effects from the Fukushima disaster proper were because of ignorance and irrational fear of radiation. You're claiming that nukes are scary because people are scared of them, which seems circular to me.

Re:Dwarfed? yeah right (1)

hypergreatthing (254983) | about 7 months ago | (#46456289)

Because the people are dead and the destruction has been done and is over. The meltdown is ongoing and will affect the region for a lot longer than the tsunami ever could.
It also highlights not the threat of nuclear power, but the threat of politics and nuclear power combined make. That plant should have been shutdown for years, a new one should have been built using upgraded technology. But thanks to politics, that wasn't done and they extended the reactor for many more years than it was made to be operational for. The same problem exists here in the US.

Re:Dwarfed? yeah right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46456317)

Yet the nuclear accident is all people panic about, completely forgetting the actual tsunami.

There's an easy explanation for that: people are used to tsunamis (and earthquakes) killing people

Some other things that kill people in which (most) people are used to and don't make a huge fuss about:

-traffic accidents
-starvation
-homelessness
-a whole bunch of diseases that aren't the big ones like cancer
-gangs and crime (but when some crazy person shoots up a school, OMG THE GUNS ARE SCARY)

Re:Dwarfed? yeah right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46456531)

Fukushima: Is fear of radiation the real killer?

...In that case how does Professor Suzuki explain the 33 confirmed cases of thyroid cancer his team have found?

"In Japan there has never been a survey on this scale done before," he said. "Once you start using very sensitive equipment to check for thyroid cancer in a very large group of children then you will inevitably find an increase in the number of cases. That is why we are seeing the increase now. These cases are not related to the nuclear disaster."

Prof Suzuki says his team will need to carry on their work for many more years to be sure that the children of Fukushima are in the clear. But he and other experts now say they think there will be very few, or even zero, extra childhood cancers because of Fukushima.
'Took everything'

That does not mean that the Fukushima disaster is not taking lives. According to the government's own figures, in the last three years more than 1,600 Fukushima evacuees have died from causes that are "related to the disaster" ...

full article at,
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/worl... [bbc.co.uk]

Re:Dwarfed? yeah right (1)

nucrash (549705) | about 7 months ago | (#46457091)

That's be cause while 20,000 died as a direct result of the devastation, and and billions upon billions was lost and millions lives were displaced because of the matter, there is an end in sight for those people where they can rebuild. There are no concerns in the long term for their life. That doesn't make their loss any less insignificant, just their loss will not linger as long as those of the Fukushima area. Look at Chernobyl 28 years later. We still have concern for what happened there.

While I am over here in my comfy world of the US, my life was altered because someone near and dear to me was only a few miles(20) from the nuclear power plant. She continues to live there today while Japan still continues to resolve problems with the reactors. The cleanup continues. She still remembers and talks of the Earthquake she survived when she was a little kid on another part of Honshu. While we focus on Fukushima, we don't forget the Earthquake and we don't forget the tsunami. I don't forget the weeks afterward where I didn't know if I were going to talk to her again. I tried every form of communication I could. I couldn't sleep, tried to work, barely functioned. Yet what I when through paled in comparison to what she was going through. Even so, what she went through paled in comparison to people at ground zero trying to clean up the mess.

Off of my great many tangents, I will say this, we don't forget. Some might, but those who were so tied into it will not.

oh /., never change, you scumbag! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46458113)

way to humble brag about your "Japanese girlfriend".

Re:Dwarfed? yeah right (1)

david_thornley (598059) | about 7 months ago | (#46465253)

Right. Your life was altered because somebody you love was near the disaster.

Consider that with twenty thousand deaths, there were a lot of people who died who were loved by people who came out OK. They can't be rebuilt. The effects of that are going to last more than 28 years.

Why can't this shit happen to North Korea? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46455865)

Japan didn't deserve this fate. First, the A-bombs, and now this.

Re:Why can't this shit happen to North Korea? (-1, Flamebait)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 7 months ago | (#46455915)

Why do you hate the Japanese? The A-bombs likely saved a million+ Japanese lives. Invasion or starving them out, would have cost much more.

No they weren't ready to surrender. That's pure bullshit.

Re:Why can't this shit happen to North Korea? (3, Insightful)

The_Human_Diversion (3564171) | about 7 months ago | (#46455975)

Why do you hate the Japanese? The A-bombs likely saved a million+ Japanese lives. Invasion or starving them out, would have cost much more.

No they weren't ready to surrender. That's pure bullshit.

Has there ever been any conclusive proof on this? I'm sure that's the thought process the US wanted everyone to think, as the US is the only country to ever use a nuclear weapon outside of testing. But the victors usually do get to write history, and I've never seen any kind of historical (or even statistical) consensus that dropping the bomb saved lives. Seems to me that the Truman administration -and any administrations following- would want the prevailing narrative to be "dropping the bombs saved lives." I have no doubt it saved allied lives, but just how many?

Re:Why can't this shit happen to North Korea? (1)

Drethon (1445051) | about 7 months ago | (#46456055)

I can't say how accurate the sources are but this might provide some information: http://pwencycl.kgbudge.com/C/... [kgbudge.com]

The main points I see are the comments that even at the end of the war at most 1-3% of Japanese soldiers would surrender and the killed to wounded ratio of Japanese vs anyone else. Also note the low number civilian casualties among the Japanese relative to anyone else.

The Japanese Invasion? Better Do Your Homework (2, Interesting)

Toad-san (64810) | about 7 months ago | (#46456065)

Study what you know nothing about.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O... [wikipedia.org]

"Nearly 500,000 Purple Heart medals were manufactured in anticipation of the casualties resulting from the invasion of Japan; the number exceeded that of all American military casualties of the 65 years following the end of World War II, including the Korean and Vietnam Wars. In 2003, there were still 120,000 of these Purple Heart medals in stock."

That's right: we're STILL awarding Purple Heart medals manufactured for that invasion.

Re:The Japanese Invasion? Better Do Your Homework (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46456417)

The only thing that could possibly prove is somebody goofed up and ordered too many medals. Seriously.

Re:The Japanese Invasion? Better Do Your Homework (1)

Alomex (148003) | about 7 months ago | (#46458449)

Still parading your ignorance, eh?

There were 26,000 allied casualties in Iwo Jima alone and 50,000 in Okinawa. 20x Iwo Jima or 10x Okinawa for the invasion of the main island of Honshu sounds, if anything, conservative.

Another guideline: in the battle of Berlin the allies suffered 260,000 casualties which too make 500,000 purple hearts seem like a rather low ball estimate.

Re:Why can't this shit happen to North Korea? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46456163)

Why do you hate the Japanese? The A-bombs likely saved a million+ Japanese lives. Invasion or starving them out, would have cost much more.

No they weren't ready to surrender. That's pure bullshit.

Has there ever been any conclusive proof on this? I'm sure that's the thought process the US wanted everyone to think, as the US is the only country to ever use a nuclear weapon outside of testing. But the victors usually do get to write history, and I've never seen any kind of historical (or even statistical) consensus that dropping the bomb saved lives. Seems to me that the Truman administration -and any administrations following- would want the prevailing narrative to be "dropping the bombs saved lives."

I have no doubt it saved allied lives, but just how many?

Let's see: Japan had all summer 1945 to surrender, but didn't. Drop two atomic bombs, and they surrendered unconditionally less than a week later.

I'd say the onus is on you to provide conclusive proof that Japan would have surrendered without the bombs being dropped.

Because they didn't, despite having the opportunity.

Never forget that the atomic bombs being dropped gave Japan a face-saving [wikipedia.org] out from the conflict they started.

Re:Why can't this shit happen to North Korea? (1)

Talderas (1212466) | about 7 months ago | (#46456233)

I wouldn't say that Japan started the conflict. They fired the first shot but the US pushed them into a corner where the war became inevitable. That push came after the Japanese invades south east Asia and French forces had surrended to them. The US them came out swinging demanding that Japan leave south east Asia and withdraw from China. The US had not previously demanded Japan withdraw from China when all the atrocities were going on. When Japan made a counteroffer of withdrawing from south east Asia and returning to the status before than invasion the US refused and at that point war became mostly inevitable because the US's demands would have caused Japan to lose a lot of face.

Re:Why can't this shit happen to North Korea? (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 7 months ago | (#46456339)

Read what you just wrote. You can't be serious.

After Japan invades China, it invades SE Asia. The USA then gives them no choice but to 'go to war'. WTF? They've been at war for a decade at that point.

Re:Why can't this shit happen to North Korea? (1)

Talderas (1212466) | about 7 months ago | (#46456713)

I wasn't aware that when the Japanese invaded french indochina in 1940 that they had been at war with the US for a decade. Shit, context is hard.

Re:Why can't this shit happen to North Korea? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46457065)

Your right. Kinda like how Germany invaded all those other countries first, and then Britain forced then to go to war..

wait...

Re:Why can't this shit happen to North Korea? (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 7 months ago | (#46457067)

At war; not at war with the USA.

You knew that, but think being cute is better then being smart.

Re:Why can't this shit happen to North Korea? (1)

Talderas (1212466) | about 7 months ago | (#46457333)

It's a little thing called context, which you blatantly disregarded in your attempt to be pedantic. The entire post was phrased in the context of US-Japanese relations on how individual acts of Japanese aggression caused various responses by the US. Until December 7 (8), 1942 the Japan and US were not at a state of war. Being in a state of war with one country does not prevent you from going to war with a country you were previous not at war with.

Re:Why can't this shit happen to North Korea? (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 7 months ago | (#46457863)

You want to ignore the context of the Japanese having invaded their neighbors prior to going to war with the USA but claim you are the one including context in your thinking?

I wouldn't take such an inconsistent position. It's your argument, so go for it.

Also 1942? You could learn history watching old Belushi movies.

Re:Why can't this shit happen to North Korea? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46459099)

I wouldn't say that Japan started the conflict. They fired the first shot but the US pushed them into a corner where the war became inevitable. That push came after the Japanese invades south east Asia and French forces had surrended to them. The US them came out swinging demanding that Japan leave south east Asia and withdraw from China. The US had not previously demanded Japan withdraw from China when all the atrocities were going on. When Japan made a counteroffer of withdrawing from south east Asia and returning to the status before than invasion the US refused and at that point war became mostly inevitable because the US's demands would have caused Japan to lose a lot of face.

Let's assume 1930s Japan is a recalcitrant toddler in class, and the US is the teacher:

Japan: La de da.. (plays with shoe laces)
US: Japan, please pay attention.
Japan: No. (throws a crayon at a neighbor)
US: Japan, please stop that.
Japan: Not gonna! (pulls another neighbors hair)
US: Japan, please stop that or I'll put you in time out
Japan: No. I don't wanna and you can't make me! I'm just gonna pick up my crayon! (pokes another neighbor - HARD - with the pointed end of a pencil, drawing blood)
US: Japan, OK, you're in timeout.
Japan: Hah! Watch this! Fuck you! (pulls off diapers, shits in the middle of class, throws turds at all the others in the room, runs up to the teacher and pisses on her while grabbing her tits and crotch with shit-covered hands)
US: (struggles to get hold of Japan, getting bitten along with kicked in the face a few times, but finally subdues Japan, smacks Japan hard on the ass to get Japan's attention, then puts Japan in timeout.)

Epilogue: Japan grows up to be a model student for the rest of the class.

OK, now you're blaming the teacher.

Riiight. Sure. It's the teacher's fault.

Re:Why can't this shit happen to North Korea? (1)

david_thornley (598059) | about 7 months ago | (#46465281)

In the meantime, the US had been supplying the Japanese with oil and iron, that they needed to support their war machine so they could continue to commit atrocities in China. Japan attacked the US because the US cut off that supply, not because of hostile diplomatic notes.

Re:Why can't this shit happen to North Korea? (1)

Talderas (1212466) | about 7 months ago | (#46465651)

The following has a good summary of what lead up to the Pacific War but to summarize... the US embargo was not coupled with any reasonable demands that Japan take. The final embargos came after the Japanese invasion of French Indochina but the demands were over territory that the US had shown no significant previous interest in and had no strategic or economic interest in (China). The American demands to give up on their empire, coupled with the embargo, was telling Japan that they needed to submit to subservient economic dependence on the United States. No country would accept those demands because that's tantamount to giving up your sovereignty.

http://www.strategicstudiesins... [army.mil]

Re:Why can't this shit happen to North Korea? (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 7 months ago | (#46456281)

Never forget that a lot of civilians were killed by those bombs.

Be really careful about trying to rationalize civilian deaths. Claim its necessary all you want, just be clear about the kind of company youre keeping when you let "the greater good" rationalize mass killings.

Re:Why can't this shit happen to North Korea? (0)

Reapman (740286) | about 7 months ago | (#46457147)

Unlike the rest of WW2 where no civilians died?

You also realize that both Hiroshima and Nagasaki were part of the war machine in Japan, right? Hate to say it but bombing cities was a common tactic by all sides back then. War has never been fair. If we ever found ourselves in a situation similar to WW2, I dare say it would happen again, too, by every side.

War... war never changes.

Re:Why can't this shit happen to North Korea? (2)

Talderas (1212466) | about 7 months ago | (#46456175)

Conclusive proof? Probably not but it was a reasonable expectation. America was well aware of many of the atrocities that were going on during the 2nd Sino-Japanese war leading up to World War II. Japanese soldiers in the army were infused with an utterly bastardized form of bushido and were treated barbaricly by their superiors.

Hiroshima was very must a strategically justified target on military grounds. It was the headquarters of the Japanese 2nd General Army which was responsible for the defense of a significant portion of the Japanese homeland. The atomic bomb caused critical damage to that army. It wiped out the headquarters, most of the army's staff officers were killed by it (the commanding general was away when the bomb dropped), the logistics for that army were wiped out, and numerous formations were written off by the bomb's effect. In essence that bomb completely wrote off one of the two armies responsible for defending the Japanese mainland.

Re:Why can't this shit happen to North Korea? (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 7 months ago | (#46456529)

and I've never seen any kind of historical (or even statistical) consensus that dropping the bomb saved lives

Hmm, Kokura, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Yokohama, and Niigata were put on a list of cities that were not to be bombed conventionally, so as to allow for a good analysis of the effects of atomic bombing, if, as and when.

So it's pretty safe to say that the populations of Yokohama, Kokura, and Niigata were saved as a result of the decision to use the bomb.

This ignoring that the Tokyo bombings killed more people than the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs combined.

Re:Why can't this shit happen to North Korea? (1)

Talderas (1212466) | about 7 months ago | (#46456863)

Kokura's population wasn't saved by the decision to use the atomic bomb. It was the primary target for Fat Boy but due to cloud cover the bomb was dropped on Nagasaki instead.

Re:Why can't this shit happen to North Korea? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46458753)

Has there ever been any conclusive proof on this? I'm sure that's the thought process the US wanted everyone to think, as the US is the only country to ever use a nuclear weapon outside of testing. But the victors usually do get to write history, and I've never seen any kind of historical (or even statistical) consensus that dropping the bomb saved lives. Seems to me that the Truman administration -and any administrations following- would want the prevailing narrative to be "dropping the bombs saved lives." I have no doubt it saved allied lives, but just how many?

Does it matter?

I have no heartburn over turning two Japanese cities into radioactive rubble, even if it only spared a dozen allied lives.

Part of me wishes we fought modern wars with that kind of ruthless efficiency. Maybe we wouldn't be fighting so many of them, for so long.

Re:Why can't this shit happen to North Korea? (1)

david_thornley (598059) | about 7 months ago | (#46465459)

There is no conclusive proof of what the Japanese were going to do, but it doesn't look encouraging.

See "Downfall", by Richard Frank, for a good account of Japanese (lack of) decision-making and what the US knew. Japan asked Stalin to serve as a mediator, but never could come up with a proposal to pass on. The Liaison Council was deadlocked. Japanese strategy all along had been to make the US pay bitterly for every advance in order to discourage them, and fighting on the home islands was consistent with that policy.

Then the nukes were dropped. The Emperor at that time took unconstitutional action and called for surrender. The Council agreed, although people still worried about what some of them would do, particularly Anami, Minister of War and the most hard-line. He committed suicide that night without explaining himself.

The Emperor prepared a broadcast about the surrender, citing the nukes and other developments not necessarily to Japan's advantage (a definite understatement). In the night after the recording and before the intended broadcast, some Japanese attacked the Imperial Palace, hoping to do a coup d'etat including destroying the recording, in order not to surrender. See "Japan's Longest Day" for details.

So, given the defeat of Japan all over the Pacific and much of Asia, the utter devastation of the Japanese economy, and the nukes, it took Imperial action to cause the surrender, nobody was sure the top authorities would allow it, and there was an attempt to overthrow the government to avoid surrender. This leaves me very doubtful of Japanese surrender in any reasonable time under other circumstances.

We might also ask what would have happened in other places without a Japanese surrender. The Japanese had killed roughly 100K-200K per month in their campaigns, and three months of that would have killed more people than the nukes did. I'm rather annoyed at the complete lack of consideration of Chinese and Indochinese lives in this debate.

Re:Why can't this shit happen to North Korea? (2, Insightful)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 7 months ago | (#46456261)

Trying to justify anything in a war, particularly one operating on a principle of "total war", is a fool's errand.

Im not sure anything, even the supposed lives it saved or the apparent necessity, could justify the indiscriminate bombing of a civilian population. Yes, that goes for the various firebombings. Claiming that they were potential combatants doesnt change that they werent actual combatants.

Bombing Japan may have been the lesser of two evils, but dont let anyone tell you that it wasnt one of the two.

Re:Why can't this shit happen to North Korea? (3, Insightful)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 7 months ago | (#46456419)

Japan was close to surrender before the bombs were dropped. It's a well established historical fact. The situation was already dire, the Pacific fleet was mostly resting on the bottom, Russia was threatening to attack from the west, it was obvious that victory was impossible and defeat was only a matter of time. Even the military knew it, which is why they were resorting to ever more desperate tactics like suicide attacks.

There are plenty of letters written by those in positions of power at the time stating all this, it was very clear to them. The political will to do it was proving hard to muster, but it was building and it's doubtful that the bombs shorted the war by more than weeks or a few months at most. In particular the threat of being split in two like Germany if Russia attacked meant that surrender would actually have been preferable.

America had developed this terrible new weapon and realized that it was only a matter of time before others did too. They wanted to find out what the effects of a nuclear attack would be, especially on cities and human beings. Computer modelling and the like didn't exist, but here was an opportunity to try it out.

If the goal was simply to end the war swiftly the bombs could have been dropped on unpopulated or remote military only targets. They were not, they were dropped on civilian cities. I have yet to hear an explanation of why that was, other than to conduct tests. How do you explain it?

Re:Why can't this shit happen to North Korea? (0)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 7 months ago | (#46456483)

The _fact_ they didn't surrender between Hiroshima and Nagasaki makes you wrong. The rest of your position sits on that mistake.

Re:Why can't this shit happen to North Korea? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46456669)

The _fact_ they didn't surrender between Hiroshima and Nagasaki makes you wrong. The rest of your position sits on that mistake.

Your circumstantial evidence is overshadowed by many examples of individual testimony in the historical record that Hiroshima's destruction was so complete and devastating it was inconceivable to the Japanese that it was caused by Americans or humans, and, as President Truman silently understood, the destruction of Nagasaki was a necessary evil in communicating to the Japanese leadership – incontrovertibly – that it was an American attack and not, say, an event caused extraterrestrially, and that President Truman, the man himself, could and would continue similarly devistating attacks if they did not immediately surrender.

Re:Why can't this shit happen to North Korea? (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 7 months ago | (#46457045)

What? Your post doesn't make a lot of sense and doesn't seem to disagree. Japan was not on the verge of surrender.

The fact that some Japanese people were in denial doesn't change the fact that they knew or should have known (we were telling them) that we had nuked Hiroshima. It took a second city being destroyed to get them to give up.

Claiming that we could have just nuked a rock in Tokyo bay is laughable, but is frequently repeated by the likes of the GGP.

Re:Why can't this shit happen to North Korea? (1)

david_thornley (598059) | about 7 months ago | (#46465497)

The Japanese were aware that the Hiroshima bomb was an atomic bomb, and what it could do. There had been a couple of Japanese nuclear programs (one Army, one Navy), and Japan did not lack good scientists. However, they concluded that refinement of U-235 was a very long process, and didn't expect the US to have another for a year. The Nagasaki bomb, which used plutonium instead of uranium, proved that the US could have many more bombs.

Re:Why can't this shit happen to North Korea? (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 7 months ago | (#46466035)

The two were only a short time apart and it took them time to evaluate what had happened and then build up the political will to agree to the surrender. It was never going to happen overnight.

Re:Why can't this shit happen to North Korea? (1)

Talderas (1212466) | about 7 months ago | (#46456977)

Hiroshima was the headquarters of the Japanese 2nd General Army which was responsible for the defense of Western Japan. The effect of the bomb was to write off the entire army as nearly its entire command staff was killed, it's logistics were thoroughly wrecked, and numerous combat units for that army were entirely written off by the bomb.

Additionally, it didn't matter if plenty of people in high positions believed the war was over and that surrender was the only option. You're ignoring the political climate that lead up to the conflict in the first place and other aspects of the Japanese country. One significant factor was while the IJN and civilian portions (including Emperor Hirohito) were convinced the war was over numerous power players in the IJA were not in agreement with that certainty and that is the critical problem that would have prevented surrended. The entirety of the actions by Japan leading up to WW2 were heavily influenced, caused, or directed by the IJA and Zaibatsu. So much that Emperor Hirohito and other civilian government officials were certain the only thing they could do was "ride the tiger" and try to influence it. If they did otherwise they were fearful of a military coup that would have usurped that far more passive Hirohito and placed his brother Chichibu (a staunch IJA supporter) as Emperor of Japan.

It took both bombs for the IJA power players to get the hint that they lost.

Re:Why can't this shit happen to North Korea? (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about 7 months ago | (#46456873)

why do you hate them so much? A legitimate target for atomic bomb could have naval bases such as Yokosuka. but you prefer tens of thousands of incinerated civilians.

Re:Why can't this shit happen to North Korea? (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about 7 months ago | (#46457961)

Why do you hate the Japanese? The A-bombs likely saved a million+ Japanese lives. Invasion or starving them out, would have cost much more.

No they weren't ready to surrender. That's pure bullshit.

He didn't say he didn't hate them.

He did say he hates Koreans a lot more.

Man-made disaster (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 7 months ago | (#46455925)

The key paragraph:

Most people believe that Fukushima Daiichiâ(TM)s meltdowns were predominantly due to the earthquake and tsunami. The survival of Onagawa, however, suggests otherwise. Onagawa was only 123 kilometers away from the epicenterâ"60 kilometers closer than Fukushima Daiichiâ"and the difference in seismic intensity at the two plants was negligible. Furthermore, the tsunami was bigger at Onagawa, reaching a height of 14.3 meters, compared with 13.1 meters at Fukushima Daiichi. The difference in outcomes at the two plants reveals the root cause of Fukushima Daiichiâ(TM)s failures: the utilityâ(TM)s corporate âoesafety culture.â

A natural disaster is a tragedy. A man-made disaster due to corporate culture is a crime.

Re:Man-made disaster (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46456125)

I've got opinions about how the newscasting has been going, but something is far more important than any of that.

CLICK PREVIEW AND FIX ANY OF THOSE FAULTY PUNCTUATIONS! This is Slashdot, you have a number, you've been here long enough to know that Slashdot isn't implementing Unicode any time soon.

That kind of hostile laziness is almost as bad as using the tt tag.

Re:Man-made disaster (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46456449)

A natural disaster is a tragedy. A man-made disaster due to corporate culture is a crime.

I, for one, refuse to join the ranks of unimaginative and uninspired journalists that love to dilute the meanings of words. In my English language, a natural disaster can never be a tragedy except to a tragic hero in a classical greek play who, by the concept of dramatic irony, is understood by the audience –but not theirself until its too late– to have caused the natural disaster ironically, usually by an act of hubris or by trying to avoid the event as prophesized, while a man-made disaster is always tragic unless intentionally caused by a supervillian that would have been a supervillian no matter what choices made by or character defining events that may have befallen the supervillian's superhero nemesis in the distant past heavily influencing or downright causing the supervillian's decent into supervillany. The TEPCO nuclear disaster may be tragic to the individuals that decided a 10m high seawall was high enough, or the individuals that had the power and influence to have placed the plant at the shore where it ultimately was vulnerable, if these individuals exist and grave enough misfortune has befallen them due to their role in the TEPCO plant meltdowns. The TEPCO nuclear disaster is also, quite sadly, tragic to the Japanese as a whole, if generalizing about whom the individuals were that allowed it to happen (and the individuals that allowed them to allow it to happen, etc.) if one sees the progress of technology and the undertaking of massive engineering projects that sometimes fatally fail spectacularly as mankind's foolish arrogance, or if the Japanese, in general, actually have the quality of humility (which they do like few other cultures).

It's happening again (1)

Ichijo (607641) | about 7 months ago | (#46456011)

While Tohoku Electric learned from past earthquakes and tsunamis--including one in Chile on February 28, 2010--and continuously improved its countermeasures...Tepco "resorted to delaying tactics, such as presenting alternative scientific studies and lobbying."

Doesn't this sound very familiar?

Japanense Government calls it something else (1)

JoeyRox (2711699) | about 7 months ago | (#46456039)

"An unfortunate wave and harmless radiation that inconvenienced a small group of our citizens"

Re:Japanense Government calls it something else (1)

tp1024 (2409684) | about 7 months ago | (#46456351)

No it doesn't.

And that, folks, is how you can tell apart arrogant people who are spouting propaganda from arrogant people who don't. The guys spouting the propaganda habitually make up lies. They put words into people's mouths that they would have liked them to have said, because it would prove their point.

Google [google.com] finds exactly one place on the whole of the internet, in which this quote appears:

Japan Marks 3rd Anniversary of Tsunami Disaster - Slashdot
slashdot.org/.../japan-marks-3rd-anniversary-of-tsunami-disaster
Slashdot
1 hour ago - ... else (Score:2). by JoeyRox (2711699) writes: "An unfortunate wave and harmless radiation that inconvenienced a small group of our citizens" ...

You may recognize this as your very own sorry piece of shit.

Re:Japanense Government calls it something else (1)

JoeyRox (2711699) | about 7 months ago | (#46456457)

Try googling "satire" and "sarcasim" next time.

"the effects ... will be felt for much longer" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46456161)

Yeah, right. What's the half-life of losing a human?

I watched it on TV (4, Interesting)

lemur3 (997863) | about 7 months ago | (#46456215)

I remember when this happened it was like 1am or so.. maybe a bit later and I was flipping through channels and I saw this weird looking flood type thing.. and a bunch of Japanese looking text.... it was the NHK channel

it was going for a very long time, perhaps an hour or more, before it appeared on your CNNs and and NBCs and such..

It was shocking and compelling footage from a helicopter of the tsunami rolling over the landscape..

it was an interesting way to come up on a news story... it was in a language I didnt understand, not on a "news" channel (this channel normally just had japanese language variety type programming) and I couldn't even quite tell what was happening at first.. but by the warnings on the screen, and the tone of the voices of the people talking you knew it was a huge event.. you could see that it was..

over the next few days that channel was what I watched almost exclusively.. I never understood a word of it.. but the scope of things just got worse and worse.. and that was something that seemed missing from the American coverage.... it never quite conveyed the violence, the horror and the magnitude.. ..it is kind of hard for CNN do when they need to cut away for Cheerios commercials

Re:I watched it on TV (4, Interesting)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 7 months ago | (#46457597)

I was in Japan when it happened.

It was mid afternoon and I was doing some shopping in a model train shop in Akiba. 5th floor. Everything started to sway a lot and I knew it was big, but at the time didn't really appreciate just how big. Japan is mostly earthquake proof so it's not like buildings were falling down around me or anything, but the shop took some damage as stuff was knocked over. When it finally stopped everyone made their way down the stairs and out onto the street, away from buildings in case of aftershocks and falling debris.

I sent an email to my mother from my phone, letting her know I was okay. After a while people just went back to shopping again, or wondering around seeing if there was much damage. There wasn't really in Tokyo, a few burst pipes and bits fallen off buildings but nothing too terrible. Some shops closed, others stayed open for a while but then decided to close early as news came in that the trains were not running.

I was actually kind of annoyed about the trains and eventually walked home since it was only maybe 5-6km. Watched some coverage on the news that evening with friends and it slowly started to become apparent just what had happened and how bad it was. More and more footage kept coming in and we just couldn't stop watching. NHK covered it 24/7 for the next week or so.

The next day we were hearing that Fukushima was in crisis, but there was little information to go on. Foreign news agencies were hyping it up, CNN called it worse than Hiroshima. People were mostly quite calm about it though, more worried than anything. Over the next few days it got worse and worse, but even so there wasn't mass panic.

The real concern now is the long term effects. People are aware that it took years for children near Chernobyl to be diagnosed with cancer, so they want their own children checked regularly to catch it as early as possible. Some people say it isn't needed, but if you had been in Japan at the time and seen the lack of information and clarity from the government and TEPCO you would understand why they feel they can't take their word for that.

Tsunami Survival Gear (1)

Dutch Gun (899105) | about 7 months ago | (#46457137)

A while back I caught a local story about a company making tsunami survival pods that are being sold in Japan now. After that disaster, I guess it doesn't seem like such a far-fetched thing to be prepared for one of these if possible. It would be nice if the price could come down to the point that ordinary people could actually afford them. Unfortunately, there's just no way to run far enough with so little warning like they had back then.

http://mynorthwest.com/11/2297725/Mukilteos-tsunami-survival-capsules-are-selling-in-Japan [mynorthwest.com]

Here's hoping the people affected by this tragedy are starting to put their lives back together. I can't do much more than wish them well, unfortunately.

yeah! anniversary! party on! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46457153)

"Three years ago, the biggest recorded earthquake in Japanese history hit Tohoku prefecture, leaving more than 20,000 people dead or missing."
hehehe lol. the last one was around 14th century A.D. they found rock pillars/slates talking about it.
Obviously the "remarkably undamaged" three headed kids will not here about the fukushima nuclear DISASTER in 500 years (no records) from now.
maybe we'll hit the "carrington jackpot"(1) soon and won't be able to bash the pro nuclear-poison-making crowed since we'll be toast.
in the mean time let me put some iodine 131 in the party balloons. they should be inflated with xenon by ends week!
: )
(1)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carrington_Event

Hmm.... some way to mark high water mark (1)

sunyjim (977424) | about 7 months ago | (#46458665)

Maybe what they should do is mark the high water mark and encourage people to not build below that point. Stones in the ground around the ocean front of the country might work. Then if there is ever another Tsunami then there won't be so much damage! Wait what? They have those already? http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04... [nytimes.com]

Onagawa linked article : Worth reading ! (1)

advid.net (595837) | about 7 months ago | (#46461783)

Onagawa plant article [thebulletin.org] is very insteresting.

It explain how a more stressed nuclear plant on the sea shore hadn't catastrophic consequences after the tsunami:
Safety culture impulsed by a man.

Onagawa was only 123 kilometers away from the epicenter—60 kilometers closer than Fukushima Daiichi—and the difference in seismic intensity at the two plants was negligible. Furthermore, the tsunami was bigger at Onagawa, reaching a height of 14.3 meters, compared with 13.1 meters at Fukushima Daiichi. The difference in outcomes at the two plants reveals the root cause of Fukushima Daiichi’s failures: the utility’s corporate “safety culture.”
[...]
Yanosuke Hirai, vice president of Tohoku Electric from 1960 to 1975—a time period that preceded the 1980 groundbreaking at Onagawa—was adamant about safety protocols and became a member of the Coastal Institution Research Association in 1963 because of his concern about the importance of protecting against natural disasters. With a senior employee in upper management advocating forcefully for safety, a strong safety culture formed within the company.

See what they did in Onagawa in the article: plant built on higher ground, five times the estimated average tsunami height, plus tsunami response aware teams.
Tepco did the oposite: "to make it easier to transport equipment and to save construction costs, in 1967 [they] removed 25 meters from the 35-meter natural seawall of the Daiichi plant site" !!!

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?