News / Asia

    VOA Reporter’s Reflection on Japanese Tragedy

    Correspondent Steve Herman answers Twitter questions about his reporting from the disaster zone.

    VOA's Steve Herman reporting at Sendai Port
    VOA's Steve Herman reporting at Sendai Port

    Steve Herman says he had no time to reflect or get emotional during his coverage of the recent disaster in Japan.  Now, back in his office in the VOA bureau in Seoul, Herman says the enormity of what he witnessed during his two weeks in Japan is still sinking in.

    When reporting I'm "in the zone,” Herman said in a TweetChat  Thursday. “I don't have time or desire to get emotional or subjective. That comes later.”

    Herman noted that reporters face post-traumatic disorders just like police, firemen, soldiers and others who are exposed to a terrifying event or ordeal.

    Praise for Japanese Character

    Fielding dozens of questions in a web chat with VOA on Twitter (see text of chat here), Herman expressed admiration for how the Japanese people have handled the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis.

    “The Japanese are admirably stoic during the disasters,” said Herman. “ That's a good way to survive disasters but not a good way to prevent them.”

    “It has overwhelmed the system. The disaster is so enormous. It'll take time to effectively help all those in need,” Herman said.

    Answering one Tweet concerned that help is not reaching those most in need, Herman said those in the worst shape are frustrated at best.

    "Some are angry," he said. “But they know everyone has to work together to survive. They will.”

    Having lived in Japan for more than 16 years, Herman said the country has always reinvented itself for the better after calamities.  He points to World War II, the Kanto Quake, and the Black Ships as examples.

    “I think it may cause some big problems for the Japanese economy in the short term,” Herman said.   He also said the disaster might lead to more political instability in Japan, leading to a possible return to power by the Liberal Democratic in 2012.

    Role of Japanese Media Changing

    Herman observed with sly amusement the relationship between the Japanese media and the country's bureaucrats, which in the past has been aptly described as "cozy." But as the crisis over the Fukushima nuclear power complex became became more heated, so did that relationship.

    “I could write a book about Japan media relations with the government and TEPCO,” Herman said.  “I’m sure somebody will.”

    When asked if the current crisis will force Japan to rethink its nuclear industry, Herman said Japan lacks the natural resources to do so.

    One Tweet asked about Japan’s willingness to ask for help from other countries.  Herman answered that there had been offers from 150 countries, and this time, Japan accepted.

    “Japan even took a donation from North Korea,” Herman said.  Nepal, he added, is sending biscuits.

    You May Like

    Syrian Rebel Realignment Likely as al-Qaida Leader Blesses Split

    Jihadist group Jabhat al-Nusra splits from al-Qaida in what observers dub a ‘deception and denial’ exercise

    New India Child Labor Law Could Make Children More Vulnerable

    Concerns that allowing children to work in family enterprises will push more to work

    What Take-out Food Reveals About American History

    Carry-out food explains a lot about the changes taking place in society, so here's the deal with pizza, Chinese food and what racism has to do with taking food to go

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Busi
    X
    July 28, 2016 4:16 AM
    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora