Many hopes for a visionary recovery are adding to the pressures on those responsible for recovery planning in Japan. In fact, I cannot recall another example of where so much is at stake. And it seems that many parties see the recovery planning process as a catalyst for driving needed changes in the economy, culture, and society of Japan. I do not envy those charged with doing the recovery planning and implementing it. An excellent summary is provided in this Brookings report, April 2011: Recovering Nation: Battered Japan Searches for Bearings It begins as follows:
In the weeks since a shockingly destructive earthquake and tsunami wreaked havoc in Japan’s northeast Tohoku region and spread turmoil throughout the country, it’s often seemed as if the stunned nation is fighting for recovery on three fronts. The clearest is against the sometimes enormously-destructive power of nature itself?in this case the tragic deaths, devastation, and dislocations caused by the tsunami, and the knock-on effects especially at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power facility. The second is the debilitating stereotype, prevalent both at home and abroad over the past several years, of a dysfunctional political-economic culture that has put the nation on a bullet train destined for decline, and which? the false label has it? would inevitably render the government incapable of effectively responding to the crisis. The third, just now coming into renewed focus, is the array of genuine, often self-imposed economic and political log jams that in recent decades have been slowly sapping the country of vitality, and which, if left in place, could ultimately undercut even the best-laid plans for post-tsunami reconstruction.