Japan’s tsunami is still making its presence felt long after it has gone away. The disaster that befell Japan in 2011 washed unknown quantities of debris away from Japan and that debris is starting to show up on America’s left coast. Items from soccer balls to entire floating docks have been found up and down the coastline. NOAA has even setup an email address expressly for the purposes of reporting floating Japanese debris.
Now the Japanese government has gifted $5 million to NOAA to help aid in the cleanup as it happens here:
We are extremely grateful to Japan for its generous support to the American people. The tragedy set in motion by the earthquake and tsunami continues to be tangible, but it brought our nations together. This gift is a powerful reminder of the goodwill, friendship and spirit of mutual support between our people. We appreciate this partnership and collaboration with Japan as we work to keep our ocean and coasts healthy.
NOAA has set up an entire subsite to dealing with debris from Japan, which is expected to continue washing ashore for a few years. Radiation experts say that there is no reason to avoid beaches, as debris is unlikely to be radioactive and in any event, will only wash ashore in small, unmassed quantities at any one time.
Just wanted to put together a single post highlighting some of the relief efforts underway for Japan in the wake of their many disasters. We started out talking about the Japanese tsunami, then about the earthquake, then about the nuclear meltdowns… Hard to imagine how hard hit the country is right now.
But there is good news, in the form of world-wide outpouring of relief. Boeing has committed 2 million dollars to relief aid, coming from their employees and the Boeing Company Charitable Trust. The Red Cross has of course opened multiple avenues of donation across the globe. I’ve setup a link to the Red Cross’s American donation site at the top of this website. Hollywood stars – evil, corrupting influences that they are – have also begun raising money. Proceeds from Warner Bros. release of the DVD “Hereafter” will go to relief efforts as well. Lady Gaga raised $250k in her wrist band sales effort.
Locally, Wegmans has begun a new checkout line campaign to raise money. So has Bausch and Lomb. News 10 has a story about a local doctor planning on going to Japan to help out. The D&C also has a similar story.
None of this is a complete list, of course. But there’s enough stuff going on that I thought rather than overload my Twitter feed, this would be the better way to highlight it all.
The economic impact of the tsunami is hardly the most important thing. But this being the day when I normally blog / link economic news, I figured it would be worth checking in on what is going on there in this context.
The least surprising news is that the Nikkei, Japan’s stock market, took a huge hit as a result of the chaos. That index is down 6.2% this morning. They’ve been suffering from the same cash flow problem that the United States has been for the last few years – it is primarily the lack of cash and readily-available credit in the marketplace that’s been shutting down business as usual here and abroad. And just like the United States, Japan has been venturing into the world of Quantitative Easing. Now with the disaster, they’ve opened up the QE floodgates in the hopes of injecting more than 10 billion yen into the market.
Interestingly, this has to be the first international crisis in the past twenty years that caused the price per barrel of oil to decrease, on concerns about Japanese consumption drops. At least as interestingly, Business Insider is speculating that it may also have to do with Saudi troops moving into Bahrain. Not sure I understand that at all.
And here’s something I understand even less, but love more: Japanese officials are urging their residents to – wait for it – *not* go to work today. Apparently, this kind of thing presents a problem in Japan, whereas in this country when times of crisis hit us, we’re urged to shop.
The below-linked article has some great thoughts and information about the ongoing crisis – which appears to be taking a nasty turn towards full melt-down – in Japan’s Fukushima nuclear facility following the tsunami and subsequent seismic events there. But the real kicker for me is yet another example of Bush Administration ineptitude that could potentially have cost us dearly:
Guest Blog: Failure of Imagination Can Be Deadly: Fukushima is a Warning.
Getting rid of nuclear waste is an issue that continues to plague the industry. In the United States, the Yucca Mountain waste repository project in Nevada, (with an estimated budget of $96 billion, of which over $13.5 billion was spent) was finally canceled by the Obama Administration amid concerns that the expense far exceeded the benefit of transporting spent fuel and storing it at the site. Nevada is one of the most seismically active states and it was discovered that the Yucca Mountain project was placed on a fault line.
So, I’m guessing that, while this is a score for the Obama Administration, it kinda puts the brakes (doh! sp! ed.) on any future energy independence plans that might have involved nuclear power, wouldn’t you say?
The nuclear power plant that is currently emitting radiation is 240 miles north of Tokyo and the prevailing wind is to the north as well, so the leak will now be a problem for points north but not Tokyo. Experts seem to think a full melt-down is unlikely, lets hope that it is:
Wind blows south-to-north at quake-hit Japan nuclear plant: Scientific American.