“A crisis on the scale of the Second World War for Japan” if Tokyo evacuated after Fukushima
June 13th, 2012
Diary: In Fukushima
London Review of Books, Vol. 34 No. 9, pages 35-37
May 10, 2012
Around the time of the anniversary it emerged that, early on, the prime minister had looked at the possibility of evacuating Tokyo. But you cannot evacuate a city of 35 million densely packed people. Where would they go? It would have been a crisis on the scale of the Second World War for Japan and a huge blow to the international economy. A couple of weeks after the anniversary it was revealed that the most damaged Fukushima reactor had nothing like the water-cooling levels it was thought to have and was now hotter than it had been at the time of the accident. This is the worst disaster the country has faced since the end of the war, and it occasioned the first public speech by a Japanese emperor since Hirohito announced defeat on 15 August 1945, less than a week after the second American nuclear bomb exploded over Nagasaki.