Monday, July 18, 2011

Japanese World Cup win: The thrill of victory and the continued agony of defeat

The Japanese World Cup win is the good news for that country while the continued fallout from the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster trifecta the bad!

How can the Japanese World Cup win be a good news/bad news situation at the same time?

For a brief moment Japan can focus on an event beyond the one that occurred four or so months ago that killed tens of thousands.

An event that also created an ongoing nuclear crisis at the Fukushima nuclear power plant that has far surpassed the disaster at Chernobyl.

So, while Japan can revel for now in this victory that will unite that country, the same victory may also serve to refocus international media attention on a nuclear crisis that is still of unknown proportions!

This wavering media attention, either by design or because of interest in non-news events such as the Casey Anthony trial, has for the most part ceased.

What is the current status of the nuclear fallout from Fukushima?

The current state of the nuclear crisis in Japan remains difficult to ascertain as the IAEA has issued no updates since June 2nd.

The question then is whether in fact there is nothing for the IAEA to tell or whether to tell what they know would potentially cause a global panic.

We do know that the IAEA is typically not shy about reporting what it sees as good news even if that information is somewhat less than 100% accurate (see Iraq and Iran).

We also know that the food supply in Japan has at least to some extent been tainted, with radioactive beef showing up on the store shelves in Tokyo.

We know that concern exists over the safety of fish from Japan as one of the cooling methods for the still burning reactors has resulted in the dumping of enormous amounts of nuclear waste into the Pacific Ocean.

Some will tell you that the vastness of the ocean will dilute any impact while others will tell you that in fact a danger exists.

We know that there has been anecdotal (and controversial) evidence of an impact from the nuclear fallout in the pacific northwest of the United States resulting in an increased infant mortality rate.

What we don't know is where the nuclear crisis goes from here!

The bottom line for Japan: Good news from the Women's World Cup and still very tenuous news on the nuclear crisis front!

Understand that simply because we do not hear that much about the nuclear crisis in Japan, doesn't mean that it isn't still very much a dynamic situation!

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