STRONG IN THE RAIN: Surviving Japan’s Earthquake, Tsunami, and Fukushima Nuclear Disaster


The Japan Society is delighted to welcome journalist and academic, David McNeill, to talk about his new book Strong in the Rain: Surviving Japan’s Earthquake, Tsunami, and Fukushima Nuclear Disaster, following its publication in November this year. After a presentation by the author, the audience will be invited to take part in a question and answer session.

The book blends history, science and gripping storytelling to bring the immediate aftermath of the March 2011 triple disaster to life, through the eyes of the men and women who experienced it first-hand.

Following the narratives of six individuals, Strong in the Rain traces the shape of a tragedy and the awe-inspiring heroics it prompted. Among others, we meet David Chumreonlert, a Texan with Thai roots, trapped in his school’s gymnasium with hundreds of students and teachers as it begins to flood. We meet a worker who thought nothing of returning to the Fukushima plant to fight the nuclear disaster, despite effects that he knew might stay with him for the rest of his life. We read of the mayor of a coastal town who remained devoted to his job and the care of his townsfolk round the clock, without knowing the fate of his own family, his optimism and bravery as inspiring as his problems overwhelming. We learn of the messengers who sacrificed their own lives to warn others of the rapidly approaching tsunami.

In addition to this beautifully-written and moving collection of narratives, McNeill, and his co-author, Lucy Birmingham, look at the long-term consequences of what Japan endured in 2011. The book examines the ripple effect the disaster has had throughout the world, prompting international rescue missions and reactions from a range of NGO and aid organisations. The authors also consider a shift in attitudes toward the nuclear industry, both domestically and internationally, from the protests seen in Japan to European countries putting a hold on their own nuclear futures.

David McNeill writes regularly for the Independent, the Economist, the Irish Times, and Japan Times, while teaching at Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan. His work has also appeared in Newsweek, New Scientist, The Face, Marie Claire, New Statesman. He is a board member of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan and chair of The Foreign Press in Japan. He lives in Tokyo.

Date: Monday 3 December 2012, 6.45pm
Venue: The Swedenborg Society, 20-21 Bloomsbury Way (Hall entrance on Barter St), London WC1A 2TH
Fee: Free – booking essential (places are limited)
Booking deadline: Friday 30 November

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