- Posted March 12, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Japan one year later: What’s changed?
3.11 - GAIJIN OUT OF JAPAN!
- zdan, CNN iReport producer
11 March 2012 marks the one year anniversary of the 9.0 earthquake that rocked the Japanese archipelago and set off the tsunami and still ongoing nuclear crisis in Fukushima.
Throughout much of the country it was a day of remembrance, but also for many a day like any other.
With Tokyo being relevantly unscathed, many of those wishing to document the one year anniversary were out in force and in some areas equaled or outnumbered those that were paying their respects to the departed.
With the emergence of new media, fueled by personal blogs, video sharing sites like YouTube, Mixi (Japan's version of Facebook), and other social networking sites, traditional media (TV, newspapers and radio) is on the wane (as its in other developed countries).
Thus, on this one year anniversary of theTōhoku earthquake and tsunami, members of the traditional media, as well as citizen reporters (and the plain curious) were out in great numbers to document this historic first year anniversary.
In Ginza, a upscale part of Tokyo, many congregated in front of the department store Wako.
The apex of the building is crowned by a large Seiko clock, famous to all that visit this area
This clock has chimed daily at noon since 1947.
However, because of the scale of the devastation and in honor of those that perished in the disaster the clock chimed eleven times at exactly 2:46pm (14:46).
This time coincided with the exact time, to the year, that the massive earthquake struck.
Thoughout the streets of Tokyo there were commemorative prayers, meetings and demonstrations of all kinds throughout the city.
To many, one of the organizations most responsible for the failing and subsequent nuclear disaster is TEPCO (TOKYO ELECTRIC POWER COMPANY).
Outside its' Tokyo headquarters was a anti-nuclear march that was attended by thousands.
However, this group which was made up by a large cross section of the population was met just outside TEPCO by members of an extreme ultra-right nationalist group known as the Haigaisha.
GAIJIN OUT OF JAPAN!
Haigaisha's message was clear, they are: anti-government, anti-media and clearly anti-foreigner.
Their rhetoric was based on the belief that a corrupt media was brainwashing its' citizens into believing a modern industrial country like Japan could survive without nuclear power, which they clearly disagreed with.
They challenged many of the anti-nuclear protesters to provide a solution (to the current energy crisis that has griped Japan) rather than what they called hollow slogans.
As well, they took issue with the many (mostly Western) foreigners (called gaijin in Japanese) that were marching in the anti-nuclear rally.
The sentiment was one of hostility to what they perceived as 'outside influence' as well as people that had (what they believed) no stake in the long term future of the country.
In fact, they regularly stage marches throughout Japan demanding the removal of foreigners from the country.
Western governments have pinned their hopes on the future solvency of national social welfare programs by importing millions of immigrants from developing countries.
Japan on the other hand has no such policy. It sees the social price as too high and thus the country remains one of the most homogeneous on earth.
Immigration to Japan remains a very difficult and almost impossible task for those seeking life in a more economically advanced country.
Thus, the bellicosity of the counter demonstrators was on display for all to see. However, while the numbers of anti-nuclear protesters (the eye of Haigaisha's displeasure) numbered in the thousands, their counter demonstration was attended by only a handful and was surrounded by a cordon of police that outnumbered them by a ratio of two-to-one.
There were minor scuffles by a few foreigners that were displeased by the message of the Higaisha but the day ended peacefully and both groups kept their distance.