For sure this year had been very interesting for Japan especially looking from the perspective how Japan had been presented in the media abroad. Observing the foreign media commenting about the disaster had been on front pages with many true, fictious and not proper researched topics. In many ways it had been a PR nightmare for Japan. Now after time has passed, while being on a business trip it is interesting for me to see how few people still remember abroad the disaster. It seems that time has moved on and Japan has moved out of the limelight.
Do you remember about all those stories of fleeing foreigners en masse, plus Tokyo being deserted and no food available? Now after the actual numbers of the so called “flyjin” came up, we can see that it was just a hype. According to the Japan Times the number of foreigners declined 1.9 percent nationwide during the period of December 2010 and March 2011. Yes, in some areas effects can be seen, because the number of foreign residents in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures has dropped 10.5 percent to 30,092 in the same period (all data based on the Justice Ministry). In the following period of end of March to end of June the number decreased further by 944. Personally I believe this makes sense, simply because in the affected areas business is not yet back to usual. If the factory is damaged or even gone, consequently it is not surprising that the number of foreign trainees at companies and other entities at the end of June decreased by 67.9 percent in Miyagi Prefecture from the end of December. The figure dropped 18.5 percent in Iwate and 19.2 percent in Fukushima. I agree that there is a certain amount of foreigners who have left Japan, but I don’t see the numbers as high as promoted previously in the foreign media. Sadly, who is actually now interested to hear the truth, when media abroad has moved on to other hotter topics?
Although I got tired of all the bad news in the media in Japan following the disaster, I guess then locally we need to be constantly informed about the ongoing consequences of the disaster. We need to keep in mind constantly that actually recovery has not started much yet, plus the economic consequences will be felt for a rather long period to come. All of this simply let me wonder how fickle I have become personally about global news?
Brought to you by Sibylle Ito (シビル伊藤)