Saturday, March 19, 2011

Why is there no looting amid Japan's disaster?

Amid the devastation of Japan's earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crises, there is an inspiring phenomenon - no looting.

"This is quite unusual," observes British journalist Ed West for London's The Daily Telegraph, "and it's unlikely it would be the case in Britain. During the 2007 floods in the West Country, abandoned cars were broken into and free packs of bottled water were stolen. There was looting in Chile after the earthquake last year - so much so that troops were sent in; in New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina saw looting on a shocking scale."

As Japan digs out, the landscape along the coast north of Tokyo looks like the aftermath of World War Two, observes West.

"Solidarity seems especially strong. Perhaps even more impressive than Japan's technological power is its social strength, with supermarkets cutting prices and vending machine owners giving out free drinks as people work together to survive.

"But most noticeably of all, there has been no looting, and I'm not the only one curious about this," writes West in his Telegraph blog. "Why do some cultures react to disaster by reverting to everyone for himself, but others - especially the Japanese - display altruism even in adversity?"
Do you have any ideas?
My Aunt Myrtle spent 50 years in Japan as a missionary I would like to think that’s one of the reasons.

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