Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Peter Apedaile sent in the following comments and questions. As usual, they are stimulating and positive. Thanks, Peter.

"Lots of good news of success and raw courage. Talked with Nobuhiro the other day and he reported that supply chains have been repaired for food and that main railline and highway transport have been mostly restored. We talked about weak government and whether this calamity will be a game changer as far as regionalizing politics is concerned. Will prefecture governors become the new power-brokers as the recent elections suggest? Will the emphasis on self reliance for coping with the disaster shift the funding formulas for local rural government away from dependence on central government handouts? Is the whole dysfunctional national party structure so shaken by the disaster that it may be replaced by something like territorial coalitions of interests? Could a national unity problem be on the horizon?

I wonder if Masashi could comment on progress in restoring rural markets. Has financing been put in place for interrupted cash flows and farm/commerce/SME debt servicing? It seems so important to get people back to work and to restore income flows. It is important to tackle any sense of hopelessness over rural debt obligations while the local economy recovers. Can the precautionary market bans be reversed safely yet? And in Awano, have the auto parts plants reopened? How 'normal' is life in Awano and Iitate?

How is Mayor Kanno and his team doing? Are they dealing with radiation refugees? Has he any requests for what we could 'work on' that would help him out as his emphasis shifts to economic restoration and revitalization?"

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