|It's Apocalypse Now in Japan|
The ultimate disaster scenario would see the Tokyo region heavily contaminated by radioactivity following an explosion and radioactive fallout at the Fukushima plant. Such a situation would lead to the creation of an exclusion zone affecting thirty million inhabitants of a city that is at the heart of the flow of global basic necessities. Tokyo is one of the world’s major financial centers, one of the three management hubs of the foreign exchange markets (along with London and New York) and the Japanese economy supplies a quantity of electronic components vital to the global economy.
This morning on ABC News we read that a nuclear expert has warned that it might be 100 years before melting fuel rods can be safely removed from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant.“As the water leaks out, you keep on pouring water in, so this leak will go on forever,” said Dr. John Price, a former member of the Safety Policy Unit at the UK’s National Nuclear Corporation. “The final thing is that the reactors will have to be closed and the fuel removed, and that is 50 to 100 years away.”
Levels of the radioactive isotope iodine 131 have continued to rise, testing at 4,385 times the statutory limit on March 31st, nearly four times higher than on Sunday, March27th, said Hidehiko Nishiyama, deputy director general of Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency.
We are already well down the path of a historically unprecedented humanitarian disaster with a resultant disruption of economic, global, financial and monetary markets. In Japan conservative estimates of the local costs of the disaster already top 300 billion and with manufacturing bottlenecks developing all over the world from the lack of Japanese parts the international cost will soar.
The triple disaster that has just hit Japan (earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident) is a crucial event that will accelerate and intensify the global systemic crisis. The scale of destruction and the severity of the disaster at the nuclear power plantare providing shocks that the current international system will not be able to withstand for long.
Chris Martenson writes “For decades, the world has been running its own nuclear-style reaction, only in the currency and debt markets, where exponentially-accelerating piles of debt and money have spun about faster and faster in a gigantic, complex, coordinated reaction, the core of which is, and always has been, the United States. At the very center of this ungainly money reactor is the main fuel pile itself, the U.S. Treasury market. With any interruption to smooth flow of money through this pile, it will immediately become unstable.”
The explosion of government debt in the world will trigger the next crisis very soon and this will make it even more difficult for countries, governments and people to deal with the nuclear disaster spreading around the northern hemisphere. Radiation clouds can only be considered disastrous.
The amount of sovereign debt in the world, approximately $35 trillion, is quickly going up to even more stratospheric levels. And the United States Treasury notes are right in the center of this back breaking bubble of credit and debt. When it all goes pop it will make the $3 trillion subprime mortgage crisis seem minor in comparison. When it goes pop, like all bubbles eventually do, it will come exactly at the wrong time for now more than ever we need all our wits to deal with other dire problems.
Martenson sees things like this:
Stage 1: The world watches, riveted, as Japan suffers a tragic and horrible earthquake and tsunami, but as horrifying as these are, they are localized phenomenon affecting a relatively small percentage of the country. The real trouble lurks within damaged nuclear plants, which are now ruined and will never again produce electricity for Japan, creating instant shortages that will take years to remedy. Worse, a dangerous plume of radioactivity is carried south by winds. Tokyo partially empties and shuts down for all practical purposes.
Stage 2: The abrupt slowdown of the world’s third largest economy alters the smooth flow of cash around the globe, and even causes reversals of some other long-standing flows. Chaotic eddies emerge in a decades-old pattern of ever-increasing flows of money into and out of the money centers, and various carry-trade and other interest-rate-sensitive strategies blow up. Manufacturing in Japan screeches to a halt, disrupting just-in-time manufacturing strategies both internally and across the globe.
Stage 3: In order to fund the rebuilding effort, Japan has to buy a lot of items from foreign suppliers at the same time that its exports plunge precipitously. At first Japan simply does not participate in US Treasury auctions, leading to a shortage of buyers. But eventually Japan has to sell some of its vast hoard of US bonds in order to pay for external items needed for its reconstruction. Further, insurance companies, huge holders of US bonds, face stiff liability claims in the wake of the worst natural disaster to hit a heavily industrialized center and are forced to redeem enormous amounts of Treasury paper. US Treasury yields begin to climb.
Stage 4: Continuing unrest in the MENA region serves to keep oil elevated and local funding needs high, while Europe’s weaker players (the PIIGS) continue to slip under the waves. Money continues to ebb away from the U.S. Treasury market. Forced by circumstance, the Federal Reserve reverses its linguistic course and opens the monetary floodgates once again. There’s nothing like a crisis to justify more money printing, especially to a one-trick pony (the Fed) that only knows how to stamp its hoof on the ‘print’ button.
Stage 5: An increasingly chaotic monetary and fiscal situation spills over into the derivatives arena, creating a number of financial accidents. Stressed governments find themselves in more of an arguing mood than a pull-together-and-sing-Kumbaya mood, and agreements are hard to come by. Banks begin to fail again, global trade falls off, unrest continues to build, and then it happens—a currency crisis.
Stage 6: Everything changes. Faster than you think.
Washington and many other first world governments have become tossed about by events, lacking strategy, will power, and incapable of intelligent and corrective action.We cannot expect much from Washington or any other global government in the face of recent nuclear events in Japan.
Japan’s Prime Minister Naoto Kan said on Friday he was ready for a long battle to bring the Fukushima nuclear plant under control. “I am prepared for a long-term battle over the Fukushima nuclear plant and to win this battle,” he said. “We cannot say that the plant has been sufficiently stabilized. But we are preparing for all kinds of situations and I am convinced that the plant can be stabilized. We cannot say at this stage by when this will happen, but we are trying our best.”
I know of no reason to think or even bet one dollar on Japan’s Prime Minister, who is after all but a simple politician. He is convinced that the plant and of course their economy and the world can be stabilized but is he someone we should listen to and take comfort from?
“The game of extend and pretend at the expense of the American working middle class is growing old. When this game is over, Wall Street will be looking for another bailout. The American people will not fall for the lies again. Wall Street’s oppression reeks of greed and disgrace. They are liars and thieves. They have pillaged and stolen all that was left to steal. I will be surprised if they get out alive,” writes The Burning Platform.
We all have reason to fear knowing that politicians and these kinds of people are literally running the world. When it comes to dealing with apocalyptic situations they are way over their heads and will go running to their underground shelters and leave us scrambling, but not before they fight even more wars than they are already fighting.
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