After an endless stream of horrid reports on the tragedy of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, and the subsequent nuclear catastrophe in Fukushima, and the hotspots that are cropping up in odd places, and food scares, and even contaminated grasshoppers, we’re ready for something … lighter. And very cynical. This has been circulating in the Japanese internet community for months, has garnered countless comments, and a lot of nodding, agreement, and knowing smiles. Though it’s not based on science or statistics, and certainly not on any polls, it represents, in the eyes of many Japanese, a larger tongue-in-cheek truth.
Note: the areas seen as contaminated are marked in red.
The disaster’s impact is spreading in a multitude of ways. Japanese companies spent $70 billion on acquisitions overseas in 2011—a record. Armed with a ferociously strong yen, they’re going overseas to escape the pressures at home where electricity rationing has become part of corporate life, along with a stagnant economy and a dwindling working-age population. But they’re doing it just when Japan can least afford it.