Preface to the Second Edition
We are very happy to see this new edition of Japan Copes with Calamity published. The first edition has already been reprinted, as has the Japanese edition, which was also published in 2013. The demand for the book reflects the continuing lack of closely observed ethnographic studies of the 3.11 disasters but the enduring interest in the human aspect of the disasters. The book has received a warm response from informants in the disaster zone and many of them have told us they are glad that their voices have been heard.
We would like to take this opportunity to offer a brief update on post-disaster Japan as seen from a standpoint eighteen months on from the original publication.
‘Is everything back to normal now?’ This is what we are asked frequently, when we return from our visits to Tohoku. Coming from people living well away from the disaster zone, it is an understandable question. Three or four years after the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disasters, life outside the zone has moved on. The flood of news items about the disaster has slowed to a trickle. The government of prime minister Abe Shinzo has engineered a temporary economic recovery under the name of ‘Abenomics’, a fashionable word that really means using the time-honoured pump-priming methods of the Liberal Democratic Party: injecting trillions of yen1 of borrowed money into the economy, much of it spent on public works.
Occasionally, people are reminded of...
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