Remembering 3/11

Today marks the three year anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake (東日本大震災). The most powerful recorded earthquake ever to hit Japan, it generated a massive tsunami with waves reaching almost 40 meters in height. In the end, the disaster claimed the lives of at least 15,884 people, including Americans Taylor Anderson and Monty Dickson. It also led to the Fukushima nuclear crisis, which remains unresolved to this day. While it is important to move forward from the disaster, Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki (Ret.) reminded those attending last night’s “Japan-US Relations: Now and In the Future” talk at Temple University Japan that we must not forget 3/11. I would agree. So, when we read over all of the other Japan-related issues dominating headlines today, perhaps each of us in the American policy community should take a step back, just for a moment, and remember the 3/11 victims and their families. Most of us will agree that Japan’s relations with the United States, its current account deficit, its plutonium stockpiles, and its ongoing historical issues with its neighbors are matters of great importance for international security. That’s why those issues are in the headlines today. But, we must make sure that we don’t look past the importance of this date in history in the process of attending to current affairs.

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