Tsunami Outlaws?

Check out this story told to me by a friend yesterday.

A friend in the snowboard industry dropped by my house yesterday for a visit and we of course talked about the 3/11 Earthquake and related topics. Basically that is all people really talk about in Japan after 9.0, so he tells me this story about his friend who made a trip in his own van to deliver donated goods to a remote area above Sendai in Miyagi Prefecture.

Called the Oshika Peninsula, apparently it has become a lawless untouched zone. So this guy packs his van full of stuff to distribute and makes the long drive north from Tokyo. He arrives in the area after dark. Keep in mind he is driving through areas that have been destroyed by the Tsunami. The roads have been cleared of rubble, but most are still one lane wide and of course pitch dark with no street lights etc.

So as he is driving, suddenly he sees two human corpses lying in the road blocking the way. Of course he stops the car. Suddenly his car is attacked by bandits with metal pipes, smashing the windows and demanding he get out.

What does he do? He steps on the pedal and drives right over the corpses into the night.

My friend tells me that the whole experience shocked his friend so much that he returned to Tokyo and checked himself into a mental hospital. Heavy story.

Here on the nightly news we don’t get story’s like that one. They like to show elderly folks in evacuation centers, or people picking quietly through the rubble of their former homes. It all seems rather orderly and under control on the TV.

The reality is that there are lots of areas that are just not getting the needed help and I can imagine how easy it can be for things to get rather lawless.

He also told me that some people are committing crimes in the hope that they get arrested. Wouldn’t you rather be in jail getting three meals a day instead of struggling to find food and work and a place to live? Some of these people might have been rough characters to start with, but many are just people who lost family in the Tsunami and now have nothing left to lose.

I am wondering if there is anyone else out there who has heard firsthand stories like this one. I am interested to know more of what they are not showing on TV.

On the other hand, there are stories about how Japan’s Yakuza made deliveries of food and goods before the Self Defense force or police even arrived. Check out this good article about one such story. The article also talks a lot about Mob history in Japan, quite an interesting read.

Mobsters on a mission: How Japan’s mafia launched an aid effort


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