‘Crisis in Japan: The Way Forward’

first_imgLike grief, like aging, like rocket launches, a disaster unfolds in stages. The earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis that struck Japan March 11 may be entering another stage as the multiple effects ripple through the island nation’s economy, politics, and society.These ripples and the exact nature of the next stage in what is now being called 3/11 were discussed Wednesday (March 23) by a panel of Harvard Japanese analysts and Japanese officials, including Takeshi Hikihara, the consul general of Japan in Boston.Hikihara updated statistics that continue to worsen. As of March 22, there were 9,500 deaths, 16,000 people missing, 3,000 injured, and 260,000 evacuated. Low levels of radioactivity were seeping into produce and raw milk.But Hikihara emphasized areas of improvement. “Emergency supplies are beginning to reach suffering people,” he said. “I am happy to say [that] as of yesterday all the power was connected to each of the six [nuclear] power plants.”Only 12 days had passed since the initial earthquake, noted Susan Pharr, the Edwin O. Reischauer Professor of Japanese Politics. “We can start to think about some of the broader questions that all of this raises,” she said, “such as: What will it mean for the future of Japan? What will it mean for Japan’s leadership, including the Democratic Party of Japan, and [the] prime minister, and the future of Japanese democracy?”Institutional changes are inevitable and have already begun, the panelists said.“For the first time in Japanese history, Japanese military established a joint task force,” said Yoji Koda, a retired vice admiral of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and now a senior fellow in the Harvard University Asia Center. A single commander has taken charge of all three of Japan’s services that are providing rescue operations, he said.Japan’s economy may be overhauled, said Kotaro Tamura, a former elected official in the Japanese Diet and currently a research associate in the Program on U.S.-Japan Relations in the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs.While the areas hit hardest by the disaster account for only 7 percent of Japan’s GDP, the rest of the country is suffering too, he said. Tokyo, for example, has lost 30 percent of its electricity, and people are not only conserving energy but are holding off on purchases. Toyota has slashed production; entertainment companies that have lost venues are declaring bankruptcy.Harmful rumors about radiation levels are playing a part. “People don’t shop, people don’t produce, people don’t go out,” Tamura said.  “We are losing purchasing power.”Citing the slogan “Disaster is a mother of reform,” Tamura outlined economic strategies that he believes should be considered. They include eliminating income taxes (as in Nevada, in which case gambling would have to be allowed); eliminating consumption taxes (as in New Hampshire); cutting corporate taxes; and creating favorable tax situations for the wealthy elderly to encourage them to stay.  He also urged the central government to give more discretionary power to local governments on taxation, regulation, and legislation.“Although the damage caused by this extreme event is much, much bigger than I can explain, Japan will come back with huge and extensive reforms that will be very good for the future,” Tamura said.Koda detailed the massive relief effort by the Japanese military and police and fire departments, showing slides of relief efforts amid scenes of devastation. “Since everything is gone, the only means to get to persons in the distressed area is by manpower,” he said.His voice cracked while describing small miracles: the baby found amid the rubble; the man found at sea on the roof of his house.  More than 19,000 people have been rescued. “There’s hope,” he said. He showed a slide of people patiently waiting for water with “no struggle, no fight,” a sign of the Japanese power of patience.Every possible measure is being taken to cool down the nuclear reactors damaged in the earthquake and tsunami, he said, describing progress as “two steps forward and 1.5 steps back.”“It’s clear we’re entering a new stage in how this disaster is evolving in Japan,” said Michael Reich, the Taro Takemi Professor of International Health Policy.In a disaster, Reich said, there is “the heroic stage of saving people, the stage where people are in shock, then moving into a stage of disillusionment as people get angry at what has happened to them, and a stage of reconstruction.”  Japan is now emerging from the first, emergency stage, he said.“A disaster is an opportunity to regain a sense of national purpose. But this is going to require some visionary leadership,” he said. “The question is who is it today in Japan who can do this?”To ensure that the historical record of the unfolding disaster is preserved, Andrew Gordon, the Lee and Juliet Folger Fund Professor of History, said Harvard has launched a digital archive project to preserve the Internet records of the event — such as Twitter feeds, web pages, and social media observations —  that might otherwise disappear.“We’re part of something that’s going to have an important impact for many years,” Gordon said. “We need to be attentive to preserving the record of what’s happening.”He requested that material be sent to [email protected] panel was sponsored by the Edwin O. Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies, the Program on U.S.- Japan Relations, the Asia Center, and the Takemi Program in International Health.last_img read more

Read more

MLAX : VARIETY SHOW: Eleven SU players score in home rout of Albany

first_img Published on March 14, 2011 at 12:00 pm Comments Facebook Twitter Google+center_img As Tommy Palasek entered the postgame press conference room, he hesitated.Palasek stopped next to the table. It was the first time Palasek, the transfer from Johns Hopkins, had talked to the media postgame in his stint with Syracuse. And even though four microphones were set up alongside Orange head coach John Desko, the SU attack wasn’t sure what to do.Palasek’s trip to the postgame press conference wasn’t the only first for No. 1 Syracuse on Tuesday. The Orange (5-0) dominated a depleted Albany (3-2) squad 18-13 in the Carrier Dome. The No. 14 Great Danes played without their entire first midfield line due to injuries and were overmatched from the start. Eleven different players scored for SU, including six that tallied their first goals of the season.And for Desko, that scoring diversity is a good sign.‘I’m always happy to see that,’ Desko said. ‘… It makes it more difficult to scout and means everybody’s learning the offense. I was happy with that part of it.’AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSU started the day with a goal from one of its more typical scorers. Senior midfielder Jeremy Thompson won the opening faceoff and darted into the offensive zone. He passed the ball off but quickly got it back in the middle of the defense on a feed from Josh Amidon. Thompson quickly fired the shot into the back of the net to put SU up 1-0 just 16 seconds into the game.It took more than 10 minutes for SU to score its next goal, but Albany couldn’t do anything against SU’s defense in that time. The Great Danes fired just three shots on goal in the first quarter.Then came the string of goals from unexpected sources.Joel White started it off with four seconds left in the first period. He got an open look in transition and buried a shot for his first goal of the season to put SU up 4-1 after 15 minutes. Albany would close within 4-2 early in the second, but senior Jeff Gilbert tallied his first goal of the year three minutes later. Palasek then tallied his first of four goals on the night three minutes after that to put SU up 6-2.‘It feels great, obviously, to get that first one,’ Palasek said. ‘As an attack, my job is to go out there and produce some sort of points, and obviously, I haven’t been doing that in the first couple games. But it feels good to finally get that one off my chest.’But Palasek, White and Gilbert had all scored multiple times throughout their careers. The next two SU goals may have been the most surprising.After an Albany shot was knocked down in front, Orange defender Tom Guadagnolo led the Syracuse break. He flipped the ball to Thompson on the left side. Thompson then passed to junior Colin Donahue. Donahue looked back to the middle and found Guadagnolo standing alone in the middle of the zone.Guadagnolo wound up and ripped in the first goal of his career to put SU up 7-3.‘I think that’s not as important to get it on the scoreboard,’ Guadagnolo said, ‘but more of like a boost or a morale thing to get the team hyped up.’And then Tim Harder’s gave the Orange a boost.John Lade knocked down an Albany pass in the defensive zone, and White led the Syracuse break. Two defenders closed on him as he charged downfield, so he dumped off to the senior Harder on his right. The defensive midfielder also sent in the first goal of his career. SU was up 8-3.‘It’s certainly a goal when you come in, you don’t want the extra guys (to score) in a sense,’ Albany head coach Scott Marr said. ‘Unfortunately, those are kind of like backbreakers when their guys who aren’t supposed to score in a sense do score.’The more typical scorers for SU with the addition of Palasek took over in the second half to build upon Syracuse’s 9-3 halftime lead. Orange leading scorer Tim Desko tied Palasek for the game-high with four goals.The score ballooned to 15-7 by the end of the third and SU’s backups saw action for most of the fourth quarter.‘We’ve been in so many tight games this year, overtime last week, a couple goals the week before,’ John Desko said. ‘… And we got a lot of guys that we want to get some game experience and they did today.’[email protected]last_img read more

Read more