Japan has been headlining disaster news a great deal of late:
- September 12, 2014: Mount Ontake erupted killing more than 50 people who had been hiking at the popular tourist spot.
- October 5, 2014: Typhoon Phanfone made landfall, shutting down Mount Ontake search and rescue operations, canceling 400+ flights, closing schools, triggering mudslides, and resulting in evacuation advisories for more than 2 million people, power outages to 9,000+ homes, and seven deaths with a number of people still missing.
- October 7, 2014: Typhoon Vongfong, upgraded this morning to a super typhoon, is forecast to hit Japan this weekend.
And, of course, most of us remember the deadly earthquake/tsunami-fueled disaster at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant on March 11, 2011–the largest nuclear disaster since the April 1986 even at Chernobyl.
In the wake of the Fukushima disaster, Japan shut down all of its nuclear reactors, but recently the Japanese government has approved plans to restart the program, including any reactors that pass strict, new safety tests, along with possible new plants.
While stronger safety criteria are a step in the right direction, Japan has a long history of seismic activity, and the occasionally resulting tsunami, due to it’s location along the highly active Ring of Fire that surrounds the Pacific. And the intensity and frequency of seismic and other events appear to be increasing. Add to that equation their 118 volcanoes on just over 145, 000 square miles of land, and one has to wonder if any safety measure could be strong enough.