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Japan tourism: glimpses of beautiful Japan in Kurobe and Wakayama (Part One)

Japan tourism: glimpses of beautiful Japan in Kurobe and Wakayama (Part One)

Sarah Deschamps and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The mystery of Japan is best summed up by the stunning nature of this adorable nation which beckons tourists to “another world” where dreams and memories are made. The Shinto faith with its deep roots and unity with nature influenced the Buddhist faith which reached this nation and these fusions created “a huge well” for various Buddhist sects. Therefore, irrespective if a Shinto shrine is in the countryside or in the mega city of Tokyo, the backdrop always looks at one. This representation and reality is what makes Japan tick because irrespective if the theme is continuity or individual new ways, the old world and new world is still at peace.

In this article it is impossible to highlight all the places to visit because you have a plethora of tourist attractions throughout the entire nation. Also, each prefecture provides a unique angle and clearly all individuals will feel something special depending on individual interests and how the respective experience remains deep in the soul. Therefore, two special areas of Japan were selected in the first series about Japan tourism.

The two authors have different experiences for their special places which stay within the soul. For one author, the stunning nature and adorable Buddhist temples in Koyasan will always stay with this individual. Indeed, Koyasan and Wakayama prefecture will always stand out for one author because of the stunning nature of this prefecture and the richness of culture and religion.

If you view (http://www.tb-kumano.jp/en/index.html)the website of Tanabe City Kumano Tourist Bureau then you will notice the many amazing places to visit in the stunning prefecture of Wakayama. This especially applies to Koyasan where the Buddhist preacher Kukai made his home; the amazing temples of Negoro-ji and the surrounding area which is blessed with great places to visit: the unbelievable Kumano Kodo pilgrimage (Kumano is in the Kii Peninsula and not all of this region is within Wakayama) whereby you have so many stunning walks and rich cultural places to enlighten the individual; Shirahama and stunning beaches whereby you can forget everything; the magnificent Wakayama Castle which is rich in history and is blessed with exquisite grounds; Kumano Nachi Taisha and the beautiful waterfall and stunning Shinto shrine; and so many other amazing places to visit.

Alternatively, the other author adores Kurobe in Toyama prefecture because the scenery just “blew her mind away.” Toyama is equally blessed with stunning nature and approximately one million tourists visit the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route.

The massive Kurobe Dam is also a very popular tourist destination and the panorama views are amazing. This equally applies to the Tateyama Mountain Range and North Alpine Area. Also, between June 26 and October 15 this period is very popular because individuals can witness the water discharge from the Kurobe Dam.

In a past article by Modern Tokyo Times about Kurobe it was stated that “Also, you can enjoy lovely boat trips on Kurobe Lake and walk around the lake and Kurobe Dam. In every direction you have stunning views and it is a real treat. The Kurobe Gorge is truly beautiful and thanks to the Kurobe Gorge Railway transportation system you can travel in style and get a birds-eye-view alongside ropeways and cable cars, which blend naturally into the magnificent scenery.

“Other stunning places to visit in this lovely prefecture apply to the Kurobe Valley; Gokayama Village which is a World Heritage site; the Unazuki-onsen which is a real gem and soothes the body and mind; the Zuiryu-ji Temple which is famous in Japan; the stunning Shogawa-kyo Valley region; and many other stunning places to visit.”

Indeed, the local government has done great work in preserving the exquisite nature of this beautiful prefecture. Also, the close proximity to Nagano is a huge pulling power because many individuals often visit both prefectures on a twin holiday. Therefore, Kurobe is an ideal tourist destination and between the middle of April and the end of May you have adorable “Snow Walls.” The changing seasons also creates a lovely dimension to the entire area.

The tourist options in Japan are unbelievable and it is well worth checking the many destinations to visit. Of course, cities like Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara, and others, hog the limelight but the beauty of Japan is that each prefecture provides countless places to visit and explore this stunning country.

Therefore, if you have never been to Japan then you will be amazed by the amazing beauty of this country. Also, for individuals who reside in Japan you have so many “hidden treasures” and fantastic places to visit.

 

 

http://www.tb-kumano.jp/en/onsen/index.html Tanabe City Kumano Tourist Bureau in English.  Also, you have information in other languagesand this applies to Japanese, French, Chinese, and Korean.

http://tb-kumano-news.blogspot.com/ Kumano News Blog

Other websites about Wakayama

http://www.negoroji.org/

http://www.pref.wakayama.lg.jp/english/charm/01.html

http://www.nk-kumano.com/ (Nachi Katsuura)

http://www.shukubo.jp/eng/ (Koyasan)

http://www.kumano-experience.com/01/en/ (Kumano Experience)

http://www.sekaiisan-wakayama.jp/english/index.html (Wakayama)

http://www.nanki-shirahama.com/eng/index.html (Shirahama)

http://farstrider.net/Japan/Castles/Wakayamajo.htm (Wakayama Castle)

http://moderntokyotimes.com/2012/03/08/japan-tourism-and-amazing-wakayama-tanabe-city-kumano-tourist-bureau/  Past article about Wakayama

http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/location/regional/toyama/index.html

http://www.alpen-route.com/english/

http://www.kurotetu.co.jp/en/index.html

http://www.info-toyama.com/english/index.html

http://www.alpen-route.com/english/Highlight_theater/index.html

http://www.kurobe-dam.com/

http://www.alpen-route.com/english/map/index.html Alpine Route Map

http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/location/destinations/

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 
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Posted by on April 5, 2012 in Japan

 

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Japan tourism and culture: Hakone Jinja, historical treasure museum and Mount Fuji

Japan tourism and culture: Hakone Jinja, historical treasure museum and Mount Fuji

James Jomo and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Hakone is a very popular tourist destination because you have so many places to visit and the views of Mount Fuji in certain locations are extremely stunning. Throughout Hakone you have many museums and cultural wise the area is very rich in history. This certainly applies to Hakone Jinja (Hakone Shrine) whereby the Shinto faith blends naturally with nature. Also, the historical treasure museum based on the rich history of Hakone Jinja is certainly worth visiting because you have several amazing gems to view.

Hakone Jinja (Hakone Gongen) highlights all the natural beauty of Shinto and how nature and the gods work in unison in this religion. The backdrop of Lake Ashi, the mountain landscape and Mount Fuji breaking out from certain vantage points is absolutely stunning. Therefore, you can feel the strong connection between nature and the mystical charms of the Shinto faith.

The exact date when the foundation of Hakone Shrine was created remains debatable but clearly it dates back to the eighth century. This means that this amazing religious place was built during the Nara Period (710-794) which is fitting for such an important shrine. After all, while Kyoto may hog the limelight for being significant in Japanese culture the truth of the matter is that the Nara Period is where high culture began. This isn’t undermining the exquisite beauty and richness of Kyoto but clearly the majesty of Kyoto built on the firm foundations of the Nara Period.

Mystical holy men in the eighth century called yamabushi believed that gods dwelled in mountains that were extremely steep. Therefore, by dwelling in the same places it was hoped that ascetic practices fused with the dwelling gods would lead to magical powers and greater knowledge. Not surprisingly, Hakone Jinja with its ideal location and mysterious majesty was a place where the dwelling gods may be found according to the traditions of the yamabushi.

During the ninth century new forces were entering the Japanese psyche because Esoteric Buddhism from China was making an impact. This notably applies to Kukai (774-835) and Saicho (767-822) and once more the importance of the mountain landscape is abundantly obvious. Therefore, a fusion began to take place between the Shinto faith and its animistic nature alongside esoteric Buddhism in parts of Japan.

Mountain asceticism under Kukai in Wakayama was also powerful. Meanwhile,  in eastern Japan, and this notably applies to Hakone and Nikko, the same asceticism could be found despite the thought patterns being different. According to history Priest Mangan travelled extensively to spread the Buddhist faith and in 757 he reached Hakone and during his stay very powerful events occurred in his life. This applies to having many encounters with the yamabushi during his three years in Hakone and learning new ascetic ways. However, the real lasting legacy applies to a revelation that Priest Mangan had.

In this revelation which occurred during a dream the fusion of many ideas manifested itself and the outcome was very important. The revelation in his dream stated that “Your heart is pure and clean. Let’s deliver mankind with the grace of Shinto and Buddhist deities.” This revelation impacted greatly on him and he notified the emperor who in turn valued the meaning fully. Therefore, the emperor notified Priest Mangan to build a shrine at once in order to fulfill the revelation and hence this is the origin of this holy Shinto shrine.

Issues related to when the foundations first began or if Priest Mangan incorporated older Shinto shrines remains open. However, major changes did occur during the stay of Priest Mangan and from this date onwards many powerful individuals in Japanese history understood the power of this place.

If you visit the small treasure museum associated with the Hakone Jinja then important individuals in Japanese history like Emperor Hanayama (968-1008); Yoritomo Minamoto (1147-1199); Toyotomi Hideyoshi who died in 1598; Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543-1616); and many others, will be highlighted. The treasure museum may only be small but you have many gems inside and the images are extremely beautiful.

Indeed, maybe the mysticism of Shintoism is at play because irrespective of language constraints and the size of the treasure museum; providing you stand back and take in what you visualize then the visit will stay with you. This notably applies to the five items which have been ranked with having national Important Cultural Property.

Hakone is an extremely beautiful part of Japan and takes only 90 minutes by a special express train from Shinjuku. Your options and the special Hakone transport pass from the Odakyu train company means that your stay is convenient. Also, you can utilize the many forms of transport which are available when you buy this special transport pass.

Hakone is situated in the Fuji Hakone Izu National Park and the entire region is a tourist paradise whereby stunning nature is in all directions and you have so many cultural treasures to view. This notably applies to the Narukawa Art Museum for modern Japanese paintings; the Hakone Open Air Museum; the Pola Museum of Art; Venetian Glass Museum; Suzuhiro Corp. Kamaboko Museum; volcanically active Owakudani geysers; Hakone Botanical Garden of Wetlands; Odawara Castle Donjon; Local History Museum; Museum of Saint Exupery and the Little Pince in HakoneHakone Old Takaido Road Museum; Hakone Mononofu-no-Sato Art Museum; Hakone Art Museum; Honma Yosegi Museum; Kanagawa Prefectural Museum of Natural History; and you have a wealth of parks and special walks to go on.

In Hakone you have countless options and of course if you stay several days to a week then you won’t be disappointed because the countless amazing views will refresh you throughout your stay. The religious angle of the Shinto faith and cultural importance of the entire area fuses naturally with the stunning landscape.

http://www.odakyu.jp/english/qtours/hakone_course2.html

http://www.odakyu.jp/english/freepass/hakone_01.html

http://www.hakone.or.jp/english/index.html

http://www.odakyu.jp/english/rc/index.html

http://www.hokusai-kan.com/treasure01.htm

ALL IMAGES BELONG TO MODERN TOKYO TIMES

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2012 in Japan

 

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Review of 2011 internationally and events in Japan (March 11 and brutal tsunami)

Review of 2011 internationally and events in Japan (March 11 and brutal tsunami)

James Jomo and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

In 2011 many political convulsions have challenged nations in North Africa and the Middle East. The optimism of the so-called “Arab Spring” remains to be unfulfilled because you have so much uncertainty in nations like Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, Syria, and Tunisia. At the same time the death of Osama bin Laden wasn’t the decisive blow to international terrorism because recent events in many nations show that this menace is still potent. This notably applies to the recent slaughter of Christians in Nigeria by Islamists belonging to Boko Haram.

Images of Christians, Muslims, and secularists, celebrating political change in Egypt seems like a distant dream. After all, many Coptic Christians have been killed and a sizeable minority of Muslims supported an Islamic party which seeks to restrict the role of Christians in Egypt.

President Obama, much like the ethical policy of Tony Blair (past leader in the United Kingdom), showed his hand clearly by announcing a huge military deal with Saudi Arabia. Therefore, any notion of democracy and supporting human rights was thrown out the window. In fairness to Obama this is a systematic reality within the body politic of America. However, it makes a mockery of his ethical stances because in the land of Saudi Arabia not one single Buddhist temple is allowed or Christian church and of course all apostates from Islam face death in this nation.

Meanwhile the Euro crisis and the foundations of the European Union have been challenged to the hilt. This applies to one economic crisis after another and monetary issues will continue to be a major issue in the early months of 2012. At the same time political leaders have lost power in Greece and Italy and European technocrats who have been unelected now rule the roost in these two nations. Therefore, the “Arab Spring” appears to be ushering in “a non-democratic new dawn” while in Europe new leaders can obtain power despite being unelected – not a pleasant thought.

On a more positive note you now have a new nation called South Sudan and providing the international community supports this new entity, then some “rays of sunshine” will have happened in 2011. However, the path ahead is fraught with danger because Arab Islamists in Khartoum still desire to rule the many different African ethnic groups which comprise of Sudan. This means that bloodshed will continue in 2012 in places like Darfur and the fear is that the Khartoum government may seek to create instability in South Sudan because of the delicate nature of this new nation. Given this, the international community must develop mechanisms with political leaders in South Sudan in order to help this new nation and to guarantee its future, while major obstacles are being challenged by central forces in Juba.

The Russian Federation and Kazakhstan are entering 2012 with certain levels of uncertainty. This applies to political challenges and outside meddling from international powers which seek to cause mayhem internally. Therefore, the world is waiting to see if Putin can remain all powerful alongside Medvedev or if “the house of cards” will collapse because of external and internal agitation.

The forgotten Serbian Orthodox Christians in Kosovo still face a bleak future because they can’t freely travel around Kosovo. At the same time, power processes are against the Serbian Orthodox Christians of Kosovo and political leaders in Belgrade have to walk a tightrope – but, if the current leaders could abandon their brethren in Kosovo, it would appear that they would do so in order to enter the EU club. However, internal events and a backlash could alter the political landscape in Serbia and this is the main concern of the current political leadership in Belgrade. This means that the ghettoization of an entire religious and ethnic group will continue in the heart of Europe and what does this tell us about the new Europe?

In Myanmar the international media is focusing on current positives because political elites in this nation appear to be opening up. Yet, despite this, many minority ethnic and religious groups are still being persecuted and Free Burma Rangers continues to highlight the reality on the ground. The fear is that these minority ethnic groups will be further abandoned in order to establish short-term goals. Also, if the regime turns away from China – then minorities have much to fear from further abandonment and isolation.

Therefore, the mainly Christian Karen elites and other ethnic groups like the Shan and Chin will continue to face an uncertain future. At the same time, the majority of the international media will give scant coverage outside of issues related to Aung San Suu Kyi and issues related to the current leaders of Myanmar.

Madness sadly hit Norway in 2011 when Anders Breivik killed 77 people in Oslo. The reason for this barbaric attack was then manipulated like a political football but the truth is that this individual was clearly deranged. He was neither a Bible thumping individual nor a regular churchgoer but this didn’t stop the anti-Christian brigade from having a field day. However, the bare fact is that the majority of people he killed were white Norwegians and Christian – this hardly matches the “mad racist” and “devout Christian” image which was being brandished about. Indeed, Breivik stated that  ”I’ve always been very pragmatic and influenced by my secular surroundings and environment.”

Sadly, the gruesome murder of innocents was lost and the massacre committed by Anders Breivik was clearly aimed at a political party he detested. The events of this day will never be forgotten in Norway because it highlighted the weakness of security agencies because one individual managed to throw the entire nation into deep shock. Hopefully, Anders Breivik will never be released from prison and different ethnic and religious communities will work more closely together in order to show the real spirit of Norway.

Natural disasters hit many nations, including Australia, Japan, New Zealand, the Philippines, and many others. Therefore, tens of thousands of people died because of natural disasters. The March 11 tsunami which hit Japan was felt all over the world because of the harrowing scenes which were caught on camera. Also, Japan became the first nation in history to be hit by a devastating earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis, at the same time.

The reverberations of the nuclear crisis can still be felt today in Japan and throughout the world. Therefore, the nuclear energy issue became a hot topic and nations like Germany did a u-turn without much thought, irrespective if individuals agree with Germany or not. Ironically, this u-turn will not stop Germany utilizing the nuclear power stations in France but this is a different issue. Meanwhile, the government of Japan is caught between realism, business issues, energy concerns, the green movement, power shortages, a general public which is still divided, and other important factors related to the nuclear sector.

 

The March 11 earthquake which unleashed the tsunami was truly devastating because tens of thousands of people died. Also, the speed of events shocked people because the tsunami literally destroyed towns and villages that were in its path. Therefore, even today many people are still missing and vast numbers of people are without proper homes in areas hit by the tsunami.

Residents who reside (and who resided) near the Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima continue to face a bleak future. Also, the tourist industry, fisheries, and other important areas which created jobs have been hindered by the devastating events of March 11. Given this, the central government needs to work closely with local governments and various agencies in order to get the region back on its feet.

It isn’t all doom and gloom because many communities have started to fight back and rebuild and this also applies to attracting new investment. Therefore, the picture is very mixed but clearly all positive mechanisms need to work together in order to resolve the major obstacles which people and the local business community still face.

2011 isn’t only based on negative events but clearly the political, economic, and natural disasters, have all unleashed convulsions which still can be felt. In this sense, the early period of 2012 will be a natural continuation. After all, the nuclear ill wind in Japan remains unresolved when it applies to radiation and its impact on the natural environment and on local people. The economic crisis in Europe remains and the same applies to other parts of the world but some positive signs can be felt in some nations. Also, the so-called “Arab Spring” may turn out to be truly democratic in the long-term or it may be a false dawn where Islamists take control and new despots emerge – it is impossible to say either way with confidence.

Nations like Nigeria and Somalia will continue to face the menace of radical Sunni Islamic terrorist attacks and attacks against central forces will continue. Issues related to democracy in China will be monitored more deeply given the current political climate and North Korea will probably remain on the same footing. However, North Korea may implement some economic reforms and the new leader may turn out to be more independent minded. Meanwhile, the political merry-go-round will continue in Japan whereby political leaders in the two main political parties will face internal struggles.

The Olympics in London in 2012 offer a positive note because this event will be watched by billions of people. Also, you have signs that China and Japan will focus on greater economic initiatives which will strengthen cooperation between these two powerful neighbors. Overall, 2012 looks like another stuttering year whereby economic issues and political convulsions will continue to create new major problems.

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 
 

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Japan Tourism: Kurobe Lake and the stunning beauty of Toyama Prefecture

Japan Tourism: Kurobe Lake and the stunning beauty of Toyama Prefecture

James Jomo and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Toyama Prefecture is blessed with stunning nature in abundance and if you love nature then this part of Japan is difficult to surpass. Toyama is bordered by Ishikawa Prefecture, Nagano, Gifu, Niigata, and in the north is the Sea of Japan. In terms of landmass and population Toyama is relatively small but despite this the area is blessed with natural beauty and it is an essential tourist destination.

The Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route is internationally famous and approximately one million guests visit each year. In the past the area was isolated because of lack of transport and major routes but since 1971 the entire region is open to amazing views.

However, Toyama local government was keen to maintain a natural balance between sublime nature and developing the tourist trade. Therefore, great care was taken in order to blend tourism into the stunning surroundings and to preserve nature and protect wildlife. The outcome of this care is that you have a fantastic tourist destination whereby you can enjoy un-spoilt nature and see a new world opening up.

The mountain range of the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route which is open to tourism is around 90 kilometers long and the “roof of Japan” (North Alpine mountains) is a natural paradise. The transportation system is well linked and this applies to the train system, highland bus routes, cable car, trolley bus, and ropeway. Therefore, you can witness the new life of spring, the powerful rays of sunshine in summer, the stunning red leaves of autumn and the first snow falls of winter. However, the transportation system is closed during the real onset of winter because the snow falls are too dangerous.

If you want to witness magnificent “Snow Walls” then you must visit between the middle of April to the end of May. The “Snow Walls” are very beautiful and it is an amazing experience and clearly this season is very popular. It must also be added that the Murodo-daira area of Tateyama on average reaches roughly seven meters of snow during the winter season. Also, in some areas you have snowdrifts reaching around twenty meters and the region gets some of the heaviest snow falls in the world.

The Kurobe Dam is a major tourist attraction and from June 26 to October 15 you can witness the water discharge from the dam which is spectacular to say the least. Therefore, this central point is a lovely place to visit and the panorama views are amazing and this applies to the Tateyama Mountain Range and the North Alpine area.

Also, you can enjoy lovely boat trips on Kurobe Lake and walk around the lake and Kurobe Dam. In every direction you have stunning views and it is a real treat. The Kurobe Gorge is truly beautiful and thanks to the Kurobe Gorge Railway transportation system you can travel in style and get a birds-eye-view alongside ropeways and cable cars, which blend naturally into the magnificent scenery.

Other stunning places to visit in this lovely prefecture applies to the Kurobe Valley; Gokayama Village which is a World Heritage site; the Unazuki-onsen which is a real gem and soothes the body and mind; the Zuiryu-ji Temple which is famous in Japan; the stunning Shogawa-kyo Valley region; and many other stunning places to visit.

If you visit http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/location/regional/toyama/ the website of Japan National Tourism Organization then you can find out more details about Toyama Prefecture and tourist destinations throughout Japan.

Kurobe Lake and the entire region is a wonder to behold, therefore, irrespective if you reside in Japan or you are an international tourist, this region must be on your agenda because the views will always stay with you.

A truly fantastic tourist destination!

http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/location/regional/toyama/index.html

http://www.alpen-route.com/english/

http://www.kurotetu.co.jp/en/index.html

http://www.info-toyama.com/english/index.html

http://www.alpen-route.com/english/Highlight_theater/index.html

http://www.kurobe-dam.com/

http://www.alpen-route.com/english/map/index.html Alpine Route Map

http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/location/destinations/

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

MODERN TOKYO TIMES PHOTO IMAGES

 
 
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Posted by on November 23, 2011 in Japan

 

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Paying Homage to the Spirit of Japan seen in the Fukushima 50

Paying Homage to the Spirit of Japan seen in the “Fukushima 50”

James Jomo and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The March 11 earthquake which triggered the brutal and devastating tsunami which in turn created the nuclear crisis in Fukushima remains vivid in the memory. This tragic day will never be forgotten in Japan and the same applies to the international community which witnessed the tragic events which followed.

Sadly, despite enormous reconstruction and redevelopment taking place in the worse effected areas you still have many ongoing problems. This applies to the nuclear facility in Fukushima and radiation issues which remain, to more natural daily issues of people living in temporary accommodation and trying to find employment.

Any government in the world hit by this tragic event would be challenged to the full and in fairness to Japan, a lot of support mechanisms have been put into place but of course for people hit by this tragic event then so much more is needed.

In the midst of the nuclear crisis you had the “Fukushima 50” who did everything in their power to prevent a nuclear meltdown. These brave souls should never be forgotten because during the height of the crisis they worked day and night and at any time they could have been killed. Also, the reality of radiation means that we still don’t know if many of these brave souls will die from cancer in the future caused by radiation.

Irrespective if you are anti-nuclear, pro-nuclear or you believe that nuclear energy is a practical choice, it is clear that the “Fukushima 50” deserve the support of everybody. While alarming comments were being made and very natural dangers could have killed all members of the “Fukushima 50,” they merely got on with everything and worked around the clock in order to protect local citizens and to prevent a complete nuclear meltdown.

In an earlier article by Modern Tokyo Times which was published on March 18 it was commented that “Images of Fukushima have spread all over the world but the people who are trying to prevent a nuclear meltdown remain faceless and out of sight.  Therefore, they have been named the “Fukushima 50” in honor of their valor and loyalty to the cause.”

“All members of the “Fukushima 50” understand that death awaits them if the internal conditions become uncontrollable.  However, for the “Fukushima 50” they are thinking about the people of Japan and they understand that they are in the frontline and that if they perish, then countless others will follow from the worst case scenario.”

“Of course you will have tens of thousands of other “faceless individuals” who are giving everything in order to help people and many are working in dangerous and terrible conditions.  In this sense, but not from the personal danger that the “Fukushima 50” face; the “Fukushima 50” represent all individuals who are working against the clock in order to help the people of Japan.”

The article was written within 7 days of the March 11 tragedy and being based in Tokyo then Modern Tokyo Times tried its best to support Japan. After all, many embassies were closed and many people left Tokyo in panic. However, at all times the core of Modern Tokyo Times remained in the heart of Tokyo and visits were also made to Fukushima and other areas hit.

However, unlike the “Fukushima 50,” we had the luxury of being based far away and the admiration of these brave souls can’t be overstated. After all, how many people would risk their-own-skin in the face of so much carnage? This collectively applies to the knowledge that the high radiation may give you cancer in the future or that at any time the plant could have just blown up completely.

In the “valley of death” the “Fukushima 50” walked tall and showed the beauty of humanity. 

It matters not if you are pro-nuclear or anti-nuclear; the real issue is their bravery, dedication and giving everything in order to protect the people who reside in Japan.

They must never be forgotten because unlike the “heroes on television” who are actors and actresses, the “Fukushima 50” are real heroes and in the “valley of death” they never flinched. 

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com  

http://moderntokyotimes.com/2011/03/18/spirit-of-japan-seen-in-the-%e2%80%9cfukushima-50%e2%80%9d/

 
 

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Tsunami of March 11: elderly deaths extremely high and history ignored

Tsunami of March 11: elderly deaths extremely high and history ignored

James Jomo and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The Japanese police released vital information about the devastating tsunami which hit Japan. This applies to how deaths occurred and the age group which suffered the most. Therefore, this information needs to be studied carefully and adequate measures are needed in order to protect the vulnerable.

Of course, no nation knows when and where a natural disaster will strike but fault-lines and vulnerable areas which are prone to natural disasters are known.  Therefore, certain precautions can be taken in order to reduce the death toll when a major earthquake and tsunami strikes.

It is apparent from the findings by the Japanese police that elderly citizens who reside in danger zones need to be helped to a much higher degree. If no action is taken then history will merely repeat itself in the future and issues related to costs must not enter the equation.  Local governments and the central government must work together alongside appropriate agencies in order to protect and help the most vulnerable who reside in danger zones.

The Japanese police confirmed that over 90 per cent of people died from drowning after the violent earthquake unleashed a destructive and deadly tsunami.  This figure was expected because images of the tsunami show the speed and destructiveness of nature. 

One statistic which is of great significance is that the greatest loss of life occurred to people who were aged over 60 years old. People in this bracket group accounted for 65% off all deaths related to the tsunami. Therefore, when the brutal 9.0-magnitude earthquake unleashed the deadly tsunami, it is clear that many elderly were unable to escape for a variety of reasons.

Obviously, most people presumed that drowning would be the main cause of death and that elderly citizens would suffer the most.  However, the report by the Japanese police that the elderly accounted for 65% of all deaths is shocking and extremely high.

In a previous article by Modern Tokyo Times it was stated that “In the future, certain measures could be taken from these findings and this applies to greater attention being given to the most vulnerable.  This could apply to early back-up systems being enhanced; emergency transport located in special areas of high density areas where the elderly reside; zones of housing to be further away from the coastline for elderly residents and people who are disabled.”

“It is important not to become alarmist because the chance of another major tsunami like the March 11 tsunami is remote in Japan in the near future (but not in the distant future).  After all, you do not get many earthquakes with the magnitude of 9 and even when you do get major earthquakes which are high on the scale; then other factors have to come into play and so many other variables, in order for the same destructive accident to happen in the future.”

History proved to be the saving grace for the hamlet called Aneyoshi because they heeded the advice of old stone tablets which warned about past tsunamis. Therefore, the people of Aneyoshi planned the infrastructure of this small hamlet based on past history and because of this they escaped the ravages of the tsunami.

One stone tablet comments that “High dwellings are the peace and harmony of our descendants” and another says “Remember the calamity of the great tsunamis.”

Ancestors knew full well the power of tsunamis and how you need to understand the destructiveness of nature. Therefore, another stone tablet states that “If an earthquake comes, beware of tsunamis.” However, this ancient advice by caring ancestors was ignored by many and the old stone tablets, some which date back to 600 years ago, should have been heeded.

However, it is reported that many Japanese people went back to their homes after the violent earthquake struck.  This decision had tragic repercussions because the tsunami swept many people away who had gone back home to collect their belongings or because they believed that the danger was over.

Yotaru Hatamura is a scholar with great knowledge about the old stone tablets and he also believes that history was ignored.  Yotaru Hatamura comments that “People had this crucial knowledge, but they were busy with their lives and jobs, and many forgot.”

In the past article by Modern Tokyo Times it was also stated that “Turning back to the high rate of elderly people dying because of the tsunami then it is clear that other factors are involved.  This applies to the younger generation being at work and many will have been out of town because of this reason.  Also, a higher number of younger people will have had their own transport and obviously the mobility factor is a clear advantage and some elderly people will have been alone.”

Also, in many villages and towns in northeastern Japan the elderly population is sizeable (the same applies to other areas in the countryside) because many of the younger generation have migrated to big cities in Japan like Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya. 

“In the video below this article you can witness the power of the tsunami and during the last minute it becomes apparent that elderly people were caught because of lack of mobility.  Also, you also see a man trying to help a disabled person and the video is harrowing near the end.”

“The last few minutes on this earth for tens of thousands of people was based on fear, shock, and complete disbelief. They could feel and witness the mayhem around them before being engulfed by the tsunami.”

Therefore, it is vital that the data is fully scrutinized in order to introduce genuine safety mechanisms which will enable more people to survive when another potent tsunami strikes Japan.

Video evidence and police statistics show just what went wrong and specialists must study and formulate counter-measures.  The residents of Aneyoshi learnt from history and now it is vital that local governments and the central government learns from the deadly tsunami which hit Japan on March 11.

http://mashable.com/2011/04/17/japan-tsunami-video/

(This video is harrowing in the last few minutes – but it does show how the elderly and disabled were victims of the tsunami)

http://moderntokyotimes.com PLEASE VISIT 

 

 

 

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Positive signs under PM Noda: Cross-party support welcomes extended Diet

Positive signs under PM Noda: Cross-party support welcomes extended Diet

James Jomo and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The seriousness of the current situation in Japan is abundantly clear and unlike the leadership of ex-PM Kan it seems that PM Noda seeks compromise and cross-party initiatives when applicable.  Therefore, with the ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) needing opposition support in order to pass a Diet bill aimed at more resources for reconstruction in the Tohoku region, a sensible agreement was made.

Opposition politicians were alarmed about the speed of the special Diet because it was argued that greater cooperation was needed. Also, opposition leaders want to investigate target areas and plans which will lead to stabilization, rejuvenation and generate a new start in certain areas.

The DPJ had originally planned to close the session after only four days but political factors made this delicate and the ruling party is constrained by not holding a majority in the Upper House.   

Lower House politicians welcomed the extension because they voted unanimously for the extension to be increased to September 30. Azuma Koshiishi, DPJ Secretary General, appeared relieved after he announced that “We have come to the conclusion that the Diet session needs to be extended after consulting with Prime Minister (Yoshihiko) Noda. We’d like to hold budget committee sessions in the both chambers of the Diet during the extended session.”

The main opposition parties had wanted a full 28 day extension but the compromise was still welcomed by the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and New Komeito. Sadakuza Tanigaki, leader of the LDP, stated that “Finally it’s extended. I want to accept this decision positively.”

Yoshio Inoue, Secretary General of New Komeito, also welcomed the extension because he and fellow party members believe that this is a sign that PM Noda desires compromise.  Under ex-PM Kan it appeared that he lacked sincerity towards the opposition and members within his own ruling party.

Also, PM Noda will have been weakened by the recent resignation in his newly elected Cabinet and compromise at this juncture is needed.

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2011 in Japan

 

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