Rebuilding Japan

The CBC's David Gutnick takes us on a tour of the Saitama Super Stadium in suburban Tokyo, where 2500 people are seeking shelter from the radioactive danger in Fukushima prefecture. Plus we talk to two guests about the social, spiritual and communitarian dimensions of rebuilding an area broken by disaster.


Rebuilding Japan - David Gutnick

The latest news out of Japan is in the words of government officials very grave today. Highly radioactive water was found for the first time on Monday outside one of the reactor buildings at Fukushima. Plutonium has also been found in soil at the plant albeit not at levels that yet threaten human health.

And for survivors of the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan on March 11th ... life is difficult. Hundreds of thousands of people remain in shelters. The Saitama Super Stadium has been converted into an ultra-modern, glass-encased behemoth in a suburb of Tokyo. It is now home to 2500 people who were evacuated from the Fukushima prefecture. It's run by government with about a thousand volunteers.

The CBC's David Gutnick went there for a visit last week.

Rebuilding Japan - David Edgington/Rebecca Solnit

Relocating the displaced is one piece of the whole rebuilding and reconstruction effort in Northeastern Japan. And the scope of the task is staggering. More than 100,000 buildings were destroyed ... hundreds of thousands of others have no water or electricity and the damage to infrastructure ... 1500 roads, dozens of bridges, fifteen railways and eleven harbours.

David Edgington has studied Japanese efforts to rebuild after a devastating earthquake. He's a professor of geography at the University of British Columbia and the author of Reconstructing Kobe: The Geography of Crisis and Opportunity. He was in Vancouver. Rebecca Solnit is the author of A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster. We reached her at her home in San Francisco.

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Last Word - Great Moments in Election History

In the election of 1968, Montrealers threw rocks and bottles at Pierre Trudeau as he watched the Saint-Jean Baptiste day parade. Trudeau showed no fear, remained in his seat, and won a majority the next day.

In the 2011 campaign, Michael Ignatieff is vowing to copy Trudeau's fearlessness... by unbuttoning the top button of his dress shirt. 

Other segments from today's show:

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