The Bonus Book of the Week is “Ghosts of the Tsunami, Death and Life in Japan’s Disaster Zone” by Richard Lloyd Parry, published in 2017.
As is well known, cancer cases will cluster among residents near even peacetime nuclear facilities that are working properly. Sadly, Japan’s poor foresight on its energy policy turned it into a boatload of misfortune waiting to happen.
In March 2011, an earthquake and tsunami in Japan reminded the world yet again how one disaster can lead to another, especially when it comes to the use of nuclear energy. After radioactivity (colorless and odorless) from its three melted-down nuclear reactors spread across Japan’s countryside, leaving a huge number of people sick and dead, it closed its remaining fifty reactors. Taking a lesson,–Germany, Italy and Switzerland stopped their nuclear energy programs.
The author, however, focused mostly on the no less traumatic deaths (some of them needless) and destruction in one small place, caused by the disasters. He spent an extensive amount of time corresponding with victims in the fishing village of Onagawa on the island of Honshu, where there occurred a large percentage of needless drownings at the local elementary school: 74 of 108 kids, and 10 of the 11 teachers.
The Kitakami river overflowed its banks, but school administrators failed to take precautionary measures to evade the flooding. “Within five minutes– the time it had taken them to evacuate their classrooms– the entire school could have ascended hundreds of feet above sea level, beyond the reach of any conceivable tsunami.”
Read the book to learn about the victims’ families’ quests for finding their loved ones and for the true details of how they died, and whether their deaths were preventable.