Japan: No Looting
Why No Looting in Japan?
There are many comments made in the aftermath of the Japan Earthquake/Tsunami. After witnessing the videos of the earthquake and subsequent tsunami, I am honestly at a loss for words. I have been around a long time. I've seen the horrors of war in Vietnam. I've witnessed the aftermath of the '72 Munich Olympic Terrorist Attacks. I saw a ferry capsize in Thailand that killed over 80 people. All are horrific and have their own place in my mind for nightmare scenarios. But, the Japanese horror, with the resulting Nuclear Plant Meltdowns, the earthquake, the tsunami...its apocalyptic on a scale never seen before in modern time. Reports are that at least 10,000 people are dead. I fear that number will at least double. I'm sure most Japanese officials are saying this privately as well.
The thing that is most remarkable to me is the fact there is no looting. This is astonishing. Take a look at the pic in this hub (lower right). These are people helpingeach other out. They have lost their homes, most (if not all) of their families, their livelihood, and whatever possessions one obtains over the course of a lifetime. And, yet, here the Japanese are helping each other to survive. Many say it is due to the Japanese culture. Japanese are said to have a strict code they live by. It is "honorable" to help others. Honor. What a concept that is in this day and time. But, with people so destitute, why is there no looting? Some will say it is due to the police presence. But, strangely, it is also because of organized crime. The Yakuza, the organized crime syndicate is also enforcing order, according to sources. This may or may not be true. I like to believe it is due to the societal nature of the Japanese people. This is a country that was absolutely devastated in WWII. This is the only country to be attacked with atomic weapons. But, Japan recovered and came back as one of the biggest economic powers in the world. In short, the Japanese Phoenix rose from the ashes to prove to one and all that Japan can will itself to come back from disaster.
Helping Each Other
In Comparison...the Aftermath of Katrina
Now, many will also say Japan is a closed society. They believe in helping one another. But, would they be so willing to help a foreign national? I can only present my two experiences with Japanese. In both cases, there is no doubt in my mind, both individuals would have given their last yen to me. But, this is just anecdotal evidence, of course. Maybe someone reading this hub can give their own experience. I encourage you to do that. I'm not saying that Japanese are 100% pure and without sin. They have their flaws, of course. But, this is not the time to discuss those flaws.
One more thing to consider on this question of no looting in the aftermath of Japan's devastating earthquake/tsunami; everything was destroyed. That is another reason there is no looting, in my opinion. What can you steal if everything is already destroyed? Right now, Japan is in almost a prehistoric living situation. People live outside in the cold weather. They have little in the way of food and water. In a dire situation like this, the ultimate good does come out in people. In a structured society, like Japan, this is so very beneficial at a time like this.
The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina is one of the saddest chapters in American history. New Orleans was practically floating out into the Gulf of Mexico. But, the difference is that people helped themselves (literally), instead of helping each other. Perhaps I should rephrase that. But, I won't. I am going to let it stand. How many times did you see people coming out of stores with TVs, DVDs, washing machines, toasters and magazines? Yes, there were many people who came out with food and water. I can't argue with that. This was an untenable position for these people to live. But, there was absolutely no reason to be stealing beer, whiskey and the like from merchants who had long since left the area. What galled me even more, people were smiling at the camera as they left with new shoes, clothes and car stereos. Sadly, there were police who took part in this also. Compare this with the Mississippi gulf coast, which got the most wind of any other state on the gulf. You didn't see this so much in southern Mississippi. In fact, people there, both black and white, were helping each other. I don't think New Orleans was as devastated as much as this area of Mississippi. New Orleans just got the most publicity on TV. That is the major difference. Were there people in New Orleans who were kind, considerate and helped others? Of course there were. I don't deny that happened. But, lawlessness broke out in an unprecedented scale when common decency should have prevailed in the Crescent City.
So, what can we learn from the "no looting" in Japan? I have learned that the Japanese have a different set of rules to live their lives by than most in the West do. Honor seems to be above all else in the Japanese society. With this mindset, they have gained the admiration of the world by their steadfast adherence to helping each other during a horrible tragedy. No looting mentality in this tragedy will only help in rebuilding the infrastructure of Japanese society. The Japanese people must remain resilient and vibrant as they claw, scratch and fight their way out of this disaster. Would we react in the same manner as the Japanese if something similar struck the United States? Probably not. You would see the same kind of wailing and gnashing of teeth from people as you saw from the film pieces on MSNBC, CBS, CNN and all the other networks castigating George W. Bush (after Hurricane Katrina). We are a nation that wants help from Big Daddy at every opportunity now. We are not self-reliant. We are a nation of whiners depending on the federal government to help us when things get tough. And I'm not just talking about natural disasters here. I'm talking about when we lose our job, our home or our ability to pay our bills. Bill Clinton started this when he feels your pain. George W. Bush perpetuated it. Barack Obama turned it into a fine art.
At one time, America was like Japan. We pulled up our bootstraps, went to work, and pulled ourselves out of adversity. Imagine if we, as a nation, faced what the "greatest generation" faced in World War II. I fear, I greatly fear we would throw our hands up and surrender with our present mindset. From our wimpy leadership on down, this country is only a shell of its former self. It will be the Japanese mindset of not giving up, honor, helping their neighbors, and a willingness to sacrifice to achieve the common goal of rebuilding Japan that will prove to be one of the greatest achievements in world history. Japan will recover.
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- Japan: No Looting
There are many comments made in the aftermath of the Japan Earthquake/Tsunami. After witnessing the videos of the earthquake and subsequent tsunami, I am honestly at a loss for words. I have been around a...