Kojin Karatani “How Catastrophe Heralds a New Japan”(Translated by Seiji M. Lippit) http://www.counterpunch.org/karatani03242011.html
(...)Without the recent earthquake, Japan would no doubt have continued its hollow struggle for great power status, but such a dream is now unthinkable and should be abandoned. It is not Japan's demise that the earthquake has produced, but rather the possibility of its rebirth. It may be that only amid the ruins can people gain the courage to stride down a new path.
柄谷氏は、日本経済の退潮が誰の目にも顕かなものとなり、それを契機に日本が本格的に新自由主義路線に舵を切るようになった分水嶺として阪神大震災を捉えている。それと同時に、神戸市長田区の被害の甚大さを目の当たりにして、日本が階級社会なのだということが再認識されたのではなかったか。そういうことを「あとがき」でちょろっとこぼしていた野口武彦『安政江戸地震』は地震の翌年の1996年に出たのだとずっと思っていたのだが、1997年だった。やはり自分の記憶は当てにならない。Wall Street Journalの大江健三郎へのインタヴュー；
Clearly, the scale of the current disaster far surpasses that of the Kobe earthquake. For it also includes the damage caused by the tsunami to coastal regions across hundreds of kilometers as well as the danger of nuclear catastrophe. Yet these are not the only differences. The Kobe earthquake was completely unexpected. Aside from a small number of experts, no one had imagined the possibility of an earthquake there. The recent earthquake, on the other hand, had been anticipated. Earthquakes and tsunamis have struck the Northeastern region of Japan throughout its history, and frequent warnings had been sounded in recent years. Meanwhile, nuclear power had always given rise to strong opposition, criticism, and warnings. Yet the scale of the earthquake went far beyond any prior anticipation. It was not that the scale of such a disaster could not be anticipated, just that people had purposely avoided doing so.
There is another difference. Although the Kobe earthquake occurred after the end of the bubble economy of the 1980s, when economic recession had already taken hold, people at the time had yet to fully recognize the demise of Japan's high-growth economy. For this reason, the Kobe earthquake initially appeared as a symbol of Japan's economic downfall. Yet this was quickly forgotten as the nation tried to recapture an age when people spoke of "Japan as No. 1." It was after the Kobe earthquake that Japan wholeheartedly adopted neoliberal economic policies with the pretext of reviving the economy.
In contrast, the awareness of economic decline was widespread in Japan prior to the recent earthquake. The shrinking birthrate and the aging of the population left no room for a rosy outlook. Although empty nationalist rhetoric calling for Japan's revival as an economic superpower continues to hold sway in the major media, a different perspective has taken root in people's hearts, one that acknowledges the reality and continuing prospect of low growth and that calls for the formation of a new economy and civil society. In this respect, the recent earthquake does not come as a surprise shock to the economy. Rather, it will only strengthen already existing tendencies, confirming, in a sense, the very issues that were overlooked following the Kobe earthquake.
Kenneth Maxwell “Kenzaburo Oe: Japan ‘Burned by the Nuclear Fire’” http://blogs.wsj.com/japanrealtime/2011/03/18/kenzaburo-oe-japan-burned-by-the-nuclear-fire/
*1:See also http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20060509/1147176621 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20061102/1162433731 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20061111/1163268262 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20070301/1172719278 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20070327/1175006715 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20070502/1178032169 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20070928/1190960267 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20071207/1196999436 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20080130/1201705768 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20080222/1203653046 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20080315/1205550667 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20080618/1213764180 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20080622/1214152497 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20081111/1226421199 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20081117/1226893758 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20090218/1234940110 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20090227/1235705016 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20091125/1259121898 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20091126/1259201785 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20091127/1259318413 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20100219/1266587087 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20100325/1269541570 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20100326/1269582083 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20100415/1271309817 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20101019/1287455134 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20101230/1293678959 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20110120/1295514427
*2:Mentioned in http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20110327/1301200948