Stoic attitude wins praise

Townsville Bulletin - - World Snapshot -

DE­SPITE the hor­rific scenes of de­struc­tion, Ja­pan may emerge from its quaket­sunami disas­ter with a stronger in­ter­na­tional im­age as the nation’s re­silience wins praise.

Tele­vi­sion sta­tions have broad­cast the footage of the seis­mic waves as they razed homes and car­ried away cars as if they were toys, strand­ing dazed sur­vivors on the bru­talised land­scape.

But cov­er­age has also shown an­other side – Ja­panese show­ing calm as they search for loved ones or wait for ba­sic ne­ces­si­ties. There is not a hint of loot­ing or vi­o­lence, even as res­i­dents line up at half-empty stores.

Blogs speak of the Ja­panese as ‘‘ stoic’’ and won­der if the re­ac­tion in West­ern coun­tries would be to a disas­ter of sim­i­lar mag­ni­tude. Har­vard Univer­sity pro­fes­sor Joseph Nye said the disas­ter may turn out to ben­e­fit Ja­pan’s ‘‘soft power’’ – a term he coined to de­scribe how na­tions achieve their goals by ap­pear­ing more at­trac­tive to oth­ers.

‘‘ In ad­di­tion to the sym­pa­thy it will en­gen­der, it shows a sta­ble , well - man­nered so­ci­ety that was as pre­pared for such a disas­ter as any mod­ern coun­try could be,’’ Mr Nye said.

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