3 days after the severe earthquake hit Haiti, Japanese rescue team has just arrived in Haiti. TV has been showing Obama talking about Haiti every day, and showing the international rescue effort, not only from the neighboring countries, but also from far places such as China and Taiwan, as well as European countries.
I am aware that ports and airports are destroyed and logistics is tough now. I am aware that all these countries have at least *some* amount of diplomatic/political agenda in providing help. But I have been a bit concerned about the total absense of Japan from the scene.
I have been believing that the actual relief planning was under way from Japan, even though it does not appear in US media. US people are not interested in Japan in general, so media often ignores it, so I thought it was the case. Besides, in the recent cases of the tsunami in Indonesia or 9/11 attack, Japan was very quick to respond. Haiti was hit by the earthquake, and Japan is, unfortunately, VERY experienced with it, so there are lots of know-how, experienced people, usuful equipments available over there. So I was almost sure that the government was thinking of something.
But I saw now mention about Japan's actual move even on Japanese media until now. Blogs and Tweets tell me that the government's move was ACTUALLY quite slow.
I don't know too much in detail about why. I understand that Haiti is not diplomatically important to Japan. No past complicated histories exist between Haiti and Japan. But due to its relative importance in the U.S. is appearant to me, and the countries like China and Taiwan are using the case as their PR opportunity. Maybe Japan did not have to do that there, but at least, helping such a miserable country is a "common sense / protocol" among the advanced countries. Japan should have at least declare some official statement in par with European countries.
Japanese media is very quiet about Haiti as well. It signifies how little importance it has to the political/media circle in this country. They are too busy picking on Ozawa's corruption case.
That, I still can live with that. I was working with Latin American market long time ago when I was with Honda, and totally understand how Caribbean nations are SO FAR and unimportant to Japan. Still, there are so many government officials and politicians in this country, and if at least *some* of them take some initiative, the things may have moved a little quicker, as in the case of Indonesia.
In general, the new Hatoyama - Domocratic party government has been less effective in foreign affairs. Is this case signifies another evidence that they don't pay attention to the things outside of Japan? That they are too domestic minded?
Here is my Japanese blog entry.