While the news in Japan is fading from headlines, the country is still struggling to pick up the pieces. The nuclear crisis continues to loom as a threat, as efforts to restore power to the Fukushima Daichi power plant have been met with a trio of radiation-induced injuries, and evacuations from one site were ordered as black smoke pours from one of the #3 reactor. At the same time, the country is facing food scares, as radiation seeps into popular staples, including milk turnips, and broccoli. At the same time, Tokyo citizens are stockpiling bottled water, since radioactive iodine readings in local tap water yesterday were roughly double the limit for safe ingestion by infants (though the readings showed far lower today). The country’s economy is reaching record lows after a 24-month decline, and the country is facing a particularly perilous recovery on multiple levels.

Still, the country appears to be keeping hopeful. Kazuhiko Inoue’s Seiendan voice actor group is expanding, as the group added several more members, including Mitsuishi Kotono (Excel Saga, Sailor Moon) and Kappei Yamaguchi (Ranma 1/2, One Piece). This time, group’s members delivered their own personal messages to those affected by the disaster (below). A day earlier, Shueisha announced that they will post the newest issue of Weekly Shonen Jump for free online for a month, to deliver to those who couldn’t have access to it beforehand.

In the west, American fans are banding together to help in any way possible. The One Piece Podcast raised over $31,000 for relief efforts during a 24-hour podcast session, and Anime Bloggers For Japan cracked $4,100 raised for Doctors Without Borders and Shelterbox yesterday.

It’s encouraging to see such strong showings of support continue to roll in, as the event fades from public consciousness. While the media may be eager to shift its attention to the latest shiny new object, the situation in Japan continues to endure. And, until the Fukushima plant is taken care of, until the area as a whole begins to rebuild, the story simply will not end.

The news about the country’s economy is a troubling new development, though. As the country struggles to rebuild, a weak economy will do little more than hinder the recovery. Rumblings and rumors of currency repatriation are already underway, which is driving the value of the currency to record highs this week. In an export nation, this will cause numerous issues, as corporations often lose money in currency conversions, which reduces the overall amount of currency taken in and reduces profit margins. How companies will react in response to this, especially those directly involved with the rebuilding, has yet to be seen. However, I have no doubt that this situation will have at least some appreciable impact as it is placed on top of the country’s other woes.

The country has come a long way, considering the earthquake hit only thirteen days ago. However, the real battle has only begun. The country must begin its arduous recovery, and brave many daunting odds before it can regain its former prestige in the world market. I hope that people don’t quickly forget about this tragedy like they did Haiti, but human nature suggests otherwise. I’d love to be proven wrong, but I simply don’t see it happening.

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