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Monday, March 28, 2011

Sayonara, Tokyo

And so begins the radioactive ruination of Japan, and much of the rest of the world, at the hands of the nuclear demons unleashed in Fukushima by General Electric and the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO). The harsh reality, the cruel truth of the matter, is that this ghastly crisis is going to last months or maybe years, and maybe even a very, very long lot of years, given that the half-life of plutonium 239 is twenty-four thousand years.

But don't take my word for it. Here it is straight from the horse's mouth, a bit evasive, but nevertheless a tolerable admission of the truth:

“'Regrettably, we don't have a concrete schedule at the moment to enable us to say in how many months or years (the crisis will be over),' TEPCO vice-president Sakae Muto said ...” (1)

Months or years, the man says. Meanwhile, by the day, the crisis spirals more and more out of control and radiation levels are soaring to their highest levels since the reactors first began melting down and exploding. (2,3,4)

Tokyo is only about 160 miles from the site of the reactors that are melting down. As radiation levels rise in the region it is a firm guarantee that more and more radioactivity will fall out on Tokyo.

No doubt about it.

The inevitable consequence of that will be a dramatic withering of the cultural, social, commercial and economic life of the huge Tokyo megalopolis. As more and more people abandon Tokyo it will become a radioactive shadow of its former self. Of course the economic implications of that for global finance and commerce are immense, Tokyo is one of the three major centers of high finance in the world, along with London and New York, so its abandonment therefore has ineluctable repercussions that will rock the modern, global civilization to its core.

Do you think I'm full of it? That I don't know what I'm talking about?

Tell that to the 25 foreign governments that have already either closed their embassies in Tokyo, or have evacuated Tokyo and moved their embassies to Osaka. (5)

Tell that to the international bankers who are now fleeing Tokyo and Japan in droves. (6)

Tell that to the U.S. Navy which announced on March 17th that it was prepared to evacuate as many as 87,000 personnel if necessary. (7)

Tell that to the USO that announced two days later on March 19th that the U.S. Military has begun a voluntary evacuation of up to 200,000 military personnel and their dependents from Japan. (8, 9)

While all of this has been going on the Japanese government has also urged more evacuations and quietly widened the evacuation zone around the melting down Fukushima reactors. (10, 11)

The plain English translation of all of this activity is that the evacuation of Fukushima, of Japan, and of Tokyo, has already begun. Large numbers of people are already “voluntarily” on the move and fleeing from harm's way. The longer the crisis grinds on, the greater the numbers of people who will leave.

The impact on Japan, Tokyo and the world is incalculable. The dominoes are just beginning to topple and where this concatenation of catastrophic events will finally end, no one can say with certainty just yet.

But I can promise you this much: The Mother Of All Radioactive Roller Coaster Rides has left the starting gate and life will never again be the same for any of us. These weeks, thus, effectively mark the end of one era, and implicitly herald the beginning of another.

We are in new territory now, uncharted, radioactive territory and as this crisis grinds on, one of its initial big victims will assuredly be the city of Tokyo. If these reactors cannot be brought under control then its fate is all but sealed.

Like swarming rats fleeing a sinking ship, the mass exodus of “international bankers” from Tokyo and Japan over the past two weeks has a transparently plain meaning: it's finished, it's over.

So, sayonara, Tokyo. What comes next will not be pleasant.


Source links:

(1) http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/28/japan-idUSL3E7ES03620110328
(2) http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/27/japan-idUSL3E7ER06020110327
(3) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-12872707
(4) http://e.nikkei.com/e/fr/tnks/Nni20110326D26JF033.htm
(5) http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/breaking-news/nuclear-fears-shut-25-embassies-in- tokyo/story-e6frf7jx-1226026999531
(6) http://uk.reuters.com/article/2011/03/16/japan-quake-bankers-idUKL3E7EG13R20110316
(7) http://www.navytimes.com/news/2011/03/navy-pacific-command-prepared-to-evacuate-87k-from-japan-031711/
(8) http://www.q13fox.com/news/kcpq-thousands-of-us-military-and-dod-evacuees-return-from-honshu-japan-20110319,0,3570243.story?track=rss
(9) http://www.kirotv.com/news/27248974/detail.html
(10)http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/26/world/asia/26japan.html?_r=2&hp
(11)http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/japan-urges-more-evacuations-as-prime-minister-kan-addresses-nation/2011/03/25/AFKm2IVB_story.html