JEREMY HOBSON: Believe it or not, today marks one month since the huge earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan. Another big aftershock marked the occasion this morning.
Marketplace’s Scott Tong has been traveling around the areas that were hardest hit and joins us now from Tokyo with more on the rebuilding effort. Good morning, Scott.
SCOTT TONG: Good morning.
HOBSON: Well, first of all, sounds like there was a pretty big aftershock just today.
TONG: I was riding in the car on an elevated freeway and suddenly the car starts going left and right and then after the wobbling stopped we looked up at the light poles and they were still wobbling as we drove by. But since everything in Japan seemed designed for earthquakes I was just assuming that the bridge was the same way. But here’s the thing about what’s happening in Japan: The announcement on the radio came on and said, you know this is a 6 or a 7, and then the people in the car with me said, “Eh, only a 6.” Kind of on with the business of Japan. And you hear about that everywhere.
HOBSON: Now you just got back from the place that was damaged the most by the big 9.0 quake and the resulting tsunami. Tell us what you saw there.
TONG: It’s like one person described it to me before I went there. You drive down a beautiful coast, turn the corner, and there’s Armageddon. Maybe 20 percent of the buildings in this one port city are still standing. There are commercial fishing trollers — giant boats — dumped onto the shore like they’re bath toys. But here’s the good part — in the city of Sendai, half the stuff in restaurants is already back on the menu and available. At the convenience stores have fresh bread already. Factories that have power and are intact, they’re not just making their own stuff, they’re helping their suppliers or their customers to make their things so they can revive the whole industrial ecosystem. And they tell us, tell the world that manufacturing is still sound, it’s still the best in the world, there are no two headed, radiated Japanese fish swimming around — that the Japanese brand is still intact.
HOBSON: Marketplace Scott Tong in Tokyo, thanks Scott.
TONG: You’re welcome.
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