1 is the Day of Prevention of Natural Disasters. Today local communities
organize various drill events as well as mourn those who died in the 1923 Great
Kanto Earthquakes. In this column let’s analyze disaster prevention policies of
the government, review the massacres of Koreans after the 1923 Earthquakes and
examine fake news of today.
DEEP-ROOTED EVILS IN JAPANESE SOCIETY
must not forget what happened
September 1, 1923, just two minutes before noon, earthquakes with an estimated
scale of Magnitude 7.9 hit the South Kanto
areas and Tokai region. The number of victims and missing counted approximately
100,500 in the Kanto area, including Tokyo and Kanagawa Prefecture. Three hundred and
seventy-three thousand houses were destroyed and caught fire to ashes. In total
1million 900 thousand people were affected by the temblor.
capital city was paralyzed and the administrative functions were out of
control. Learning lessons from the calamity, the government set the date
September 1 as the Day of Prevention of Natural Disasters. We cannot totally welcome
that, however, though many training events are held throughout the nation.
is because in the name of disaster prevention, the Self Defense Forces of Japan
and the US
military stationing here make unnecessary propaganda.
the 1923 Earthquakes, big seismic activities are recorded; the 1995 January
earthquakes in the Hanshin and Awaji Regions and the 2011 East Japan
Earthquakes. We remember them vividly.
emphasizes individual and community-level efforts
let’s look at the government’s policies to tackle natural disasters. The Basic
Law on Natural Disasters was enacted in 1961. Under the legal context the
Central Disaster Prevention Council was established and it is put under the
jurisdiction of the Cabinet Office.
Cabinet Office released in July the White Paper on Natural Disasters, which emphasizes
‘individual efforts and community-level coordination for disaster prevention
activities’. Official support is converted to individual and mutual assistance.
looking at the fiscal budgets of the White Paper, attention is not well paid to
measures how to decrease and avert natural disasters. A total budget related to
disasters accounts 2 trillion 530 billion Yen: for scientific R&D it is approximately
21 billion Yen (0.8%) and for prevention it is approx. 414.4 billion Yen
(16.3%), which means in total 17.1%. The expenditure is added by the land
preservation budget of around 102.5 billion Yen (4.0%). Meanwhile, expenses for
rehabilitation account about 2 trillion Yen (78.8%) to commit in the catastrophe
after disasters. The government does not reflect its prevention policy in the
budgets. Especially for vulnerable people to natural disasters, the government
practically relies on labors of individuals, municipalities and local
News during disasters
the 1923 Earthquakes the Ministry of Interior instituted a martial law in the
midst of panic, and released fake news, saying ‘Koreans take advantage of
confusion to commit felonies and provoke disorder’. People were manipulated by
the ill-motivated rumor, ‘Koreans put poison in the wells’. Thus Koreans,
Chinese and people with hearing difficulties, in addition, socialists and
anarchists were slaughtered by the military and police as well as local vigilante
groups. The total number of victims is unknown, being said several thousands.
situation tells us that we cannot say definitely that such a tragedy will never
happen. Ethnic discrimination and right-wingers on internet prevail broadly,
the authorities issue fake news and mass media are depleted to a critical
be focused on the Day of Disaster Prevention - it is to question the root
elements of the Japanese Society.