From natural disaster to national crisis

Japan's tri-fold emergency earlier this year tested government communications to the limit

On March 11 2011, the world was informed by pictures that spoke their own language. Large ships were thrown towards land and houses and cars were floating. The earthquake of magnitude 9 caused a tsunami to wipe away most of the Aichi prefecture in the northern part of Japan only 250 kilometres from Tokyo. The death toll of the tsunami has reached more than 25,000 people. On top of this, the nuclear plant Fukushima Daiichi caught on fire and the threat of radiation instantly became a global issue. The spread of radioactivity was an alarming and devastating side effect of the natural disaster. The radioactive outlet caused by the earthquake complicated matters and made crises communication an overwhelming challenge to the Japanese government.

Lisbeth Clausen

Lisbeth Clausen is an associate professor at the Asia Research Centre and the Department of Intercultural Communication and Management at Copenhagen Business School. Her research interests are corporate communication and cultural globalisation with a focus on Japan.