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《经济学人》:日本的氢致灾难

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Japan's hydra-headed disaster日本的氢致灾难

The fallout 放射性尘埃

Some natural disasters change history. Japan’s tsunami could be one
有些自然灾害改变历史,日本的海啸会是其中之一

THAT “tsunami” is one of the few Japanese words in global use points to the country’s familiarity with natural disaster. But even measured against Japan’s painful history, its plight today is miserable. The magnitude-9 earthquake—the largest ever in the country’s history, equivalent in power to 30,000 Hiroshimas—was followed by a wave which wiped out whole towns. With news dribbling out from stricken coastal communities, the scale of the horror is still sinking in. The surge of icy water shoved the debris of destroyed towns miles inland, killing most of those too old or too slow to scramble to higher ground (see article). The official death toll of 5,429 will certainly rise. In several towns over half the population has drowned or is missing.

“海啸”是世界通用的为数不多的日语词汇之一,这说明自然灾害在日本已是习以为常。但是,即便从日本多灾多难的历史来看,现在它所面临的这场灾难也是非常悲惨的。里氏9级的地震是该国历史上最大的一次,释放出的能量相当于投放于广岛的原子弹的30000倍。强震之后,海浪咆哮而至,把一座座城镇完全吞没。从受困的滨海地区传来的零星消息表明,恐惧仍在加深。冰冷的海水把被毁城镇的废墟卷向几英里外的内陆,夺去了大多数由于年龄太大或行动太慢而未能转移到较高地方人们的生命。官方公布的死亡数字5249肯定会增加。在几座城镇,半数以上的居民溺死或失踪。

In the face of calamity, a decent people has proved extremely resilient: no looting; very little complaining among the tsunami survivors. In Tokyo people queued patiently to meet their tax deadlines. Everywhere there was a calm determination to conjure a little order out of chaos. Volunteers have rushed to help. The country’s Self-Defence Forces, which dithered in response to the Kobe earthquake in 1995, have poured into the stricken area. Naoto Kan, the prime minister, who started the crisis with very low public support, has so far managed to keep a semblance of order in the country, despite a series of calamities that would challenge even the strongest of leaders. The government’s inept handling of the Kobe disaster did much to undermine Japan’s confidence in itself.

面对不幸,素养良好的民族表现出极其克制的一面:没有抢掠,海啸幸存者中也几乎没有什么抱怨。在东京,人们仍然耐心地排队缴税。每个地方都要一种平静的决心:在混乱中保持秩序。志愿者踊跃伸出援手。在1995年阪神地震中应对不力的日本自卫队已经奔赴受灾地区。虽然一连串的不幸对最坚强的领导人都是个挑战,但是此前就任于危难之际、公众支持率很低的日本首相菅直人现在也成功维持住了日本的秩序。政府应对阪神地震的无能大大降低了日本的自信。

The wider concern更广的担忧
The immediate tragedy may be Japan’s; but it also throws up longer-term questions that will eventually affect people all the way round the globe. Stockmarkets stumbled on fears about the impact on the world’s third-biggest economy. Japan’s central bank seems to have stilled talk of financial panic with huge injections of liquidity. Early estimates of the total damage are somewhat higher than the $100 billion that Kobe cost, but not enough to wreck a rich country. Disruption to electricity supplies will damage growth, and some Asian supply chains are already facing problems; but new infrastructure spending will offset some of the earthquake’s drag on growth.

眼前受灾的是日本,但也提出了一些长期性、最终将会影响全世界所有人的问题。出于对日本这个世界第三大经济体的担忧,股市跌停。日本的中央银行似乎已经通过大量注入流动性来平息人们对金融市场的恐慌。之前发布的全部损失估计值比阪神地震造成的损失值1000亿美元稍高,但不足以摧毁一个富国。电力供应中断将对经济增长产生破坏作用,亚洲的一些供应链已经面临问题;但是重建基础设施的投资将会抵消地震对经济增长的部分拖累。

重点单词   查看全部解释    
immediate [i'mi:djət]

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adj. 立即的,即刻的,直接的,最接近的

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chaos ['keiɔs]

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n. 混乱,无秩序,混沌

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decent ['di:snt]

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adj. 体面的,正派的,得体的,相当好的

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decision [di'siʒən]

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n. 决定,决策

 
enduring [in'djuəriŋ]

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adj. 持久的,忍耐的

 
trustworthy ['trʌst.wə:ði]

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adj. 可信赖的

 
offset ['ɔ:fset]

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n. 抵销,支派,平版印刷,弯管,[计]偏移量

 
calamity [kə'læmiti]

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n. 灾难,不幸事件

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miserable ['mizərəbl]

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adj. 悲惨的,痛苦的,贫乏的

 
awe [ɔ:]

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n. 敬畏,恐惧
vt. 使敬畏或惊惧

 


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