Japan's Post-Disaster Dysfunction

The Japanese had hoped that March 11 would energize their leaders. It didn’t
Photographs by Reuters

You would expect a nation famed for its efficiency and infrastructure to set the world standard for rebuilding. One year after a giant earthquake and tsunami, Japan’s revival has barely begun. In the days after March 11, economists predicted a powerful rebound as construction crews converged on the earthquake-ravaged northeastern Tohoku region, a replay of what happened following the Kobe temblor in 1995. What’s more, many hoped the disaster—20,000 dead, towns wiped out, the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl—would break Tokyo’s political paralysis and catalyze major change.

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