Four years to the day, on March 11, 2011, precisely nine months into Rui’s abduction, the triple disaster struck Japan. Earthquake, tsunami, and multiple nuclear plant meltdowns.
On that day, Japan nuked itself.
The surrounding lands and population stood no chance against the ruin of the extensive nuclear power station networks knowingly built in what is perhaps the world’s single most precarious earthquake zone. The reactors at Fukushima Daichi which melted down have proceeded to leak vast amounts of radioactivity into the air, the ground water and the ocean, with still no end in sight. Today, numerous reports make it clear that the radioactivity leaked into the Pacific by Tepco is on a still-increasingly devastating scale, despite withering official denial. That the governments of Japan and the United States have consistently covered up and lied about the extent of the danger from the first is not secret. But by virtue of the rule of “plausible deniability” which has long served the interests of Japan’s corporate and governmental oligarchy and its intimate partnership with the U.S., the U.S. and Japan have evaded responsiblity for the ongoing contamination of the seas, marine life, and the agricultural produce of the region. And they will continue to strive to evade taking cognizance of the consequences in the form of thyroid and other cancers in children, in the devastation of livelihoods and homes, in ruined lives, and in early deaths.
Today, Japan is undergoing a political transformation unequaled since what most of us believed to be the final defeat of Japanese fascism in 1945. But as in Europe and South Asia, fascism is now in a state of revival. Remarkably since the nuclear disaster, the LDP- the political party most responsible for building the nuclear industry into the *core* of Japanese capitalism- has been returned to power by election. The LDP leadership, filled with the children and inheritors of the wealth and class benefits of the era of fascist rule, is now at the pinnacle of capital-state power in prime positions of authority throughout the economic and political establishment. Currently, with the closely held, unqualified support and full partnership of the range of United States political and military powers, the ruling party has seized the opportunity provided by the nuclear crisis, following as it did on the heels of the massive and lingering global economic crisis, and is working on multiple fronts to suppress the corruption and rot in the reputation of Japan’s past and present ruling elites, “restore” a rosy retrospective veneer of respectability to the brutality of the former fascist regime of the imperial years, and to alter Japanese educational and legal-constitutional institutions to achieve these ends. Ultimately of course, the goal is to give Japan’s elites a more direct and effective position from which to obtain the benefits of technocratic power, wealth, and influence in global economic, political and military affairs, even if doing so requires the country to further embrace its role as U.S. vassal and client state, and to supress all internal opposition at least until it is able to attain these aims. The continual push towards realization of these latter aims is profligate: most recently, in the suppression of democratic opposition to the destructive location of the enormous U.S. military facility at Henoko in Okinawa; the passage of deeply consequential state security laws aimed at suppressing press freedom and the development, organization and expression of dissent; the seemingly never-ending efforts at forced silencing of historical record and overturning of an internationally recognized consensus with regard to the invasions, occupations, and abuse of populations throughout East Asia in the first half of the 20th century; and the current efforts to revise, circumvent, or override the Japanese constitution ( for the LDP top leadership, either one will do) in order to free up the process of Japanese remilitarization.
And then, in yet another sideshow, the revival of Japan’s nuclear power industry, inclusive of the sale of technologies to the Japanese right’s neo-fascist political allies abroad. The current regime in command of the Japanese vassal state, it seems, will stop at nothing.
Since nine months before the nuclear disaster and massive violence of the 2011 tsunami and earthquake, I have not heard nor seen any image, nor heard any news of my son, much less the sound of his voice or feel of his touch. Since that same time period, I have not seen any image, nor heard any news, nor heard any sound, nor felt any feeling, nor had any thought that did not carry with it the reminder of the loss, sorrow and urgency of the unknown life and whereabouts of my missing boy, Rui.
this post is for him
And for all the victims of the tsunami, nuclear meltdown, and the lethal partnership of US and Japanese capital.