The terrible scale of the human and environmental disaster still unfolding in Japan is almost beyond comprehension.
Overwhelmed by Friday’s massive earthquake and the tsunami it triggered, the people of that country hadn’t even time to begin to count the cost before they found themselves threatened by nuclear contamination.
The stoicism of the Japanese people in these dark days is remarkable; with more than 10,000 of their countrymen dead or missing and many towns in ruins, their forbearance is beyond the reach of frantic media hyperbole.
The Environmental Investigation Agency has a long and varied relationship with Japan, reaching back to the early days of our organisation.
Our work has often put us at loggerheads with the country as a political entity, but we’ve never once mistaken the profile and policies of its government for the typical citizens with whom we so often deal, and on whom we so often rely.
One of our senior campaigners was previously active in Japan on nuclear issues; another lived and taught in the country for several years.
EIA’s cetaceans campaign regularly takes our investigators and campaigners to the country; some of them have spent months in Otsuchi and Kamaishi, places which have been completely obliterated, with devastating loss of life.
Our work in Japan would largely be impossible without the assistance of local translators, fixers, researchers and scientists, without the cooperation and help of the typical citizens and civil society groups who go out of their way to aid our investigations.
In many, many cases they have become our close friends as well as allies and informal colleagues.
To all of them, and to all their fellow countrymen, we at EIA extend our fullest sympathies for their losses and suffering in this terrible time, and send our sincerest wishes for their recovery from the destruction and profound shock that this succession of disasters has wrought.