Misleading earthquake reports

When an earthquake in Japan is reported overseas, the problem is that they only report the magnitude of the epicenter (usually offshore). They don’t usually report the magnitude in the populated areas. This is actually more important than the epicenter’s magnitude (unless the epicenter is under a populated area). A magnitude 6+ quake was reported today. That’s very strong, but it was only magnitude 3 in Tokyo. If it were magnitude 6 in Tokyo, we might be in rubble. To find out the intensity of the affected prefectures, check this: http://www.jma.go.jp/en/quake/quake_singendo_index.html

Click on the time when the quake occurred, then you can see a map of the prefectures which were affected and their color-coded intensity. Magnitude 4 or lower is minor. Here’s the map of the one we got tonight at 9:06 pm: http://www.jma.go.jp/en/quake/3/20120314210927484-142105.html

A quadruple disaster

People refer to 3/11 as a triple disaster. But it really was a quadruple disaster. The fourth disaster was the sensationalist and negative press coverage by the overseas media. The mainstream media did severe damage to Japan’s economy by frightening away foreign residents/students and tourists alike. As if the entire country of Japan were in peril when in fact, only the Tohoku area was affected. Even faraway and safe Kyoto suffered a major decline in tourists. The economic impact was severe on local businesses. The Japanese government, tourist agency, and local tourist bureaus also did little or were helpless in getting official word out that the majority of Japan was still safe. It was disgusting to see the sensationalist media taking over the country.

And now for the 1st anniversary, I’m afraid of another mass media aftershock of more negative images of only the destruction, debris, dirt (contaminated), darkness, decline, and death. The normal side and recovering bright spots in Tohoku will be largely ignored. Imagine a film crew coming to your city to film your local garbage dump and presenting it to the world as the only thing in your city. That’s what they did a year ago in Japan.

ATM scam prevention poster

This is a poster near a bank’s ATM near Yokosuka. It has Yokozuna Hakuho saying, “Do not transfer money” or “Furikomanaide” in reference to the so-called “furikome sagi” (振り込め詐欺) or bank transfer fraud which has been rampant for years.

A mother or grandmother receives a call from someone disguised as a son or other close relative saying that he was involved in an accident, etc., and needs a large amount of money right away. He gives his bank account info and the mom would rush to the bank and transfer the money.

Incredible how gullible people can be. But social scientists have identified the human psychological factors which the fraudsters successfully play on victims to send money.

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