During the last decade, Japan has been keen to cement the Japan-African cooperation. We express our heartfelt condolences to the bereaved and wish survivors a speedy moment of recovery and reconstruction in the wake of an 8.9 magnitude earthquake. Africa must urgently reciprocate Japan’s goodwill by deliberating on how to help Japan quickly recover from the tragedy.
Nature once more stunned the world by unleashing an 8.9 magnitude earthquake and tsunami in Japan killing more than 10000 people, rendering millions homeless and destroying property whose value is yet to be estimated. In addition, the exploding of some nuclear facilities portends a great danger to the environment.
This catastrophe described as the worst since World War II has seen European shares fall to their lowest in 14 weeks after Japan warned of significantly higher radiation levels. The world anticipates travel advisories as a safeguard against nuclear radiation. This reinforces global interconnectedness and the need for caution as decisions made in individual countries have a far reaching effect on neighboring countries.
While the 2010 Haiti earthquake of magnitude 7 killed more than 200 000 Haitians, the number has been much less in Japan’s earthquake which released almost 1000 times more energy. The reason for this difference? Japan is earthquake-ready. It invests in research and development to understand the earthquake process and creates infrastructure that is better able to withstand future effects. Earthquake preparedness is part of everyone’s lifestyle. This is a shame to Africa that never learns from perennial droughts; floods and famine.
Japan’s battles with natural disasters has bred innovation. The country is the world’s undisputed leader in responding to tremors and tsunamis; Skyscrapers are built to sway when shaken; warning systems in Bullet trains trigger automatic brakes and even Tokyo’s ubiquitous vending machines are programmed to open in emergencies, providing free drinks and snacks. It is a pointer to Africa to shun its numerous conflicts which only serve to divert productive and innovative energy to destructive ends.
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