Japan's future in three parts
Japan's highest mountain Mount Fuji rising up behind the skyscraper skyline over Tokyo.
March 15th, 2011
11:05 AM ET

Japan's future in three parts

Editor’s Note: Naotaka Matsukata is a senior policy adviser at Alston and Bird, LLP. He has served as Director of Policy Planning for the United States Trade Representative and Senior Policy Advisor to U.S. Senator Joseph I. Lieberman.

By Naotaka Matsukata – Special to CNN

Japan's history provides some important clues to how Japan will respond in the short, medium, and long term to crisis.  If history is a guide, recovery is certain and the progress will be rapid and eye-opening.

In the short term, this crisis provides an opportunity for Japan to come together politically, formulate agreed-upon policies and lay the foundation for stronger economic growth.

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Topics: Japan • Natural Disaster
March 14th, 2011
11:12 AM ET

Roundup: The situation in Japan

The Toll

Kyodo news agency reports that approximately 2,000 bodies were found Monday in Miyagi Prefecture on Japan's northeast coast. CNN notes that “if confirmed, the discovery would be the largest yet of victims from last week's devastating earthquake and tsunami.”

CNN reports: “Tokyo Electric Power Company says a core meltdown might have occurred in the No. 2 nuclear reactor of its Fukushima No. 1 power plant.”

According to The Mainichi Daily News,  “experts have issued warnings that the explosion at Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant on March 14 could be far more serious than initially predicted.”

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Japan can fall further or remake itself
The foundations of tsunami-devastated houses sit amongst debris in Natori City.
March 14th, 2011
07:00 AM ET

Japan can fall further or remake itself

Editor’s note: Steve Clemons is founder and senior fellow of the American Strategy Program of the New America Foundation.  He publishes the popular political blog The Washington Note.

by Steve Clemons, Special to CNN

When faults in the Earth’s crust erupt or other major natural disasters hit, they can also expose and trigger fault lines in our own societies and can topple rigid or weak states while barely bothering dynamic and resilient ones.

This happened in the U.S. when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, exposing enduring and disturbing divisions of race and class.  The 2008 earthquake in Sichuan, China, flattened hundreds of major structures, including schools that had passed their inspections through bribes.  Meanwhile, a single school whose principal had reinforced the structure and trained his students in emergency response survived, along with all of the children.

Now, in Japan, the largest seismic event in the country’s recorded history has struck.  An 8.9-magnitude tectonic rip just 80 miles off the shore from Sendai is now exposing painful fault lines in Japan’s political and economic order.

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Topics: Economy • Japan • Natural Disaster • Security
March 13th, 2011
06:53 PM ET

Fareed's Take: What the devastation in Japan teaches us

If you take the earthquake that hit New Zealand a few weeks ago and multiplied it by 1,000, you would get the one that hit Japan last week. Or if you remember the one that devastated Haiti last year, this one is several hundred times more powerful.

That’s why, despite all the precautions and preparedness, the devastation has been so great.

Most experts agree that in terms of safety plans and procedures, Japan has done almost everything right.

It is too soon to do anything but mourn, but this tragedy does remind us that no matter how much advanced work a country does, no matter how well the buildings are built, nothing can prepare you for this.

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March 11th, 2011
05:46 PM ET

Japan could build back stronger

To get further insight into the economic consequences of Japan’s earthquake and tsunami, I reached out to John H. Makin, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

He is a former consultant to the U.S. Treasury Department, the Congressional Budget Office and the International Monetary Fund.

In the Q&A below, he explains how Japan can build back stronger than before in the wake of this terrible catastrophe.

Bakshi: Describe the Japanese economy and political environment before the earthquake.

Makin: Japan has been a weak economy with sluggish growth and a severe deflation problem.

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March 11th, 2011
01:34 PM ET

A crisis expert explains the earthquake in Japan

To get a perspective on the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, I called Robert Jensen, CEO and president of Kenyon International Emergency Services, which assists international governments, corporations and NGOs in dealing with massive disasters and recovery. Jensen has directed response efforts to numerous mass-fatality incidents from Haiti to Indonesia. Here's what he had to say:

Obviously, this is a monumental challenge

Japan faced two natural disasters of opposite types hitting at the same time: an earthquake that shook, shattered and destroyed, and a tsunami that flooded the country with sewage, sludge and mud. This was an event of massive size and scope.

Thankfully, the Japanese were well-prepared

The Japanese prepared for earthquakes with strong building codes and building standards, and through training and awareness-raising.  The Japanese are very self-resilient. They know the government cannot do everything for them, so they have done things to be prepared themselves: keeping food and water supplies, doing safety drills and exercises.

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June 27th, 2010
11:00 PM ET

GPS June 27, 2010: Tom Friedman, the BP oil spill, Gen. McChrystal's fate in Afghanistan

On the program today, we have a collection of star commentators and columnists to talk about all of this week's news from McChrystal, to Obama's leadership, to inevitably the BP oil spill.

Starting with Tom Friedman of the "The New York Times"; Arianna Huffington, Katrina vanden Heuvel; Ross Douthat; and in his first appearance since being given a CNN show of his own, the former governor of New York, Eliot Spitzer. We'll also delve deeper into the tactics and strategy of counterinsurgency in Afghanistan.

Read the full transcript here.

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Topics: Afghanistan • Economy • GPS Episodes • GPS Show • Natural Disaster • Politics • President Obama • Taliban • Terrorism • United States
June 13th, 2010
11:00 PM ET

GPS June 13, 2010: Paul Wolfowitz, Israeli Deputy PM on the Gaza flotilla, the story of Neda

We have an exclusive and fascinating conversation with a man known as the brain behind neo-conservatism - Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Secretary of Defense during the Bush years, on Obama's foreign policy, Israel and the first in depth accounting that he has ever given of his actions during the Iraq War.

Then, an interview with the Deputy Foreign Minister of Israel, who explains his country's actions on the Turkish flotilla affair. And, finally, the riveting story of Neda, the young woman who was shot by the Iranian government one year ago.

Read the full transcript here.

Topics: GPS Episodes • GPS Show • Iran • Iraq • Israel • Middle East • Military • Natural Disaster • Oil • Politics • President Obama • Revolution • Terrorism • Turkey
January 24th, 2010
11:00 PM ET

GPS January 24, 2010: Zbigniew Brzezinski on the crisis in Haiti; Barack Obama: Year One

On Haiti, some surprising insights from a great foreign policy thinker, Zbigniew Brzezinski. We step back and ask some bigger questions.

And a panel on Obama's first year with Robert Caro, the two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and author of a brilliant series of biographies on Lyndon Baines Johnson; Peggy Noonan, "Wall Street Journal" columnist and writer, who authored many of Ronald Reagan's greatest speeches, not to mention five best-selling books; Walter Isaacson, one-time chairman and CEO of this network, CNN, and the author of some great biographies, among them about Benjamin Franklin and Henry Kissinger; And Sam Tanenhaus, the "New York Times" editor and author of a terrific new book, "The Death of Conservatism," still surprisingly relevant.

Read the full transcript here.

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Topics: Economy • GPS Episodes • GPS Show • Natural Disaster • Politics • President Obama • United States
January 17th, 2010
11:00 PM ET

GPS January 17, 2010: Crisis in Haiti

On today's show, a different kind of panel on Haiti - some smart writers and novelists, all intimately familiar with the island nation. From Boston, the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, Tracy Kidder. He is the author of, among many other works, "Mountains Beyond Mountains," a book about an extraordinary man named Paul Farmer and his efforts to bring hope to Haiti. From Washington, Madison Smartt Bell, who has written more than a dozen books, including "Toussaint L'Ouverture," a fascinating biography of the leader of the Haitian revolution. And in Los Angeles, journalist Amy Wilentz, who lived in Haiti through the '80s and '90s, reporting on its political turmoil and unrest.

Then, Wall Street. The former governor, Eliot Spitzer; Bush speechwriter David Frum; Stephen Dubner, half of the Freakonomics team; and the author, Naomi Klein, about Wall Street's big bonuses and financial reform.

Read the full transcript here.

 

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Topics: Economy • Global • GPS Episodes • GPS Show • Natural Disaster • Politics • President Obama • United States
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