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Taiwan: Reflection on Japan Earthquake

This post is part of our special coverage on the Japan Earthquake 2011.

When the 5th strongest earthquake ever recorded hit Japan yesterday, Taiwanese were also shocked. Taiwan and Japan share a lot of geological similarity and both countries are very vulnerable to natural disasters such as earthquake and typhoon. The 921 earthquake that took 2,415 lives in 1999 and permanently changed Taiwan geological structure, remains vivid in most people's memory.

While reading the live-updates on the Japan earthquake and tsunami from Twitter, apart from expressing their sympathy to their neighbor, Taiwanese netizens also reflect upon their own disaster alert and relief system. Below is a selection of Tweeters's immediate responses and reactions:


日本強烈地震後的馬路比台灣還平 +1

Even after super strong quakes, the roads in Japan are still flatter than those in Taiwan.

kengao says:


I have no intention to compare, but since we regularly face such mad mega natural disasters (I mean typhoon), it is really unnecessary to imagine how terrible and how bad if such disaster happens to us; I would rather believe that this land and its people are strong enough.

But he also alerts:


Have you prepared your emergency pack for earthquake? Let's face the reality, this is a super forgetful country we live in.



Living in Taiwan along with frequent earthquakes and faults everywhere, the problem link between highly-risky earthquakes and nuclear power security is not something to be taken for granted. Nuclear power plants in Taiwan have weaker anti-quake design in comparison with its counterparts in US and Japan, and the operators bury their heads in the sand in face of the threats of earthquakes upon their nuclear power plants.

torrentpien asks:

這是不是動用第二預備金啊?”總統:1億元助日 救難隊待命 – 中央社即時新聞”

Is it using the second reserve fund? “News: President orders to donate 100 million to Japan, Rescue team ready”

Now that Taiwanese netizens are exposed to a diversity of overseas news and first hand updates channeled through social media, they are getting more and more critical of the mainstream Taiwanese news reports:

tzangms said:

看著新聞幾乎每台報導一會後就會說: 「似乎就跟電影所預言的一樣」 幹, 你們是娛樂台是嗎?

I am watching the news and almost, after once a while, every channel would say: “It seems just like what the movies had foretold..”. Damn! Are you entertainment channels?

irrenhaeusler compares the Germany's news coverage with Taiwan's:


Germany's two public TV channels have extended evening news broadcasting time because of the Japan mega earthquake, and half of the coverage was about the security issues of Fukushima Nuclear power plant. Taiwan's TV news do not have any focus in their report. They just keep on telling their audience how scary is the earthquake and how terrible is the situation that Japanese are in.


要捐錢我會直接捐給日本在台協會 決對不會捐給各家電視台跟慈濟

If I am going to donate, I will donate directly to Japanese Institute in Taiwan, and will never donate to TV channels and Tzuchi [a Taiwan Charity].


我好怪,看那麼多災難照片都覺得還好,但看到這篇日本人如何防震災的努力卻有點想掉淚 “Japan’s response to quake offers lessons to the world”

I am a weirdo. I do not feel particularly sad when looking at the disaster photos, but have to keep my tears from shedding when I read this this article about how Japanese struggle to prevent and mitigate earthquake. “Japan’s response to quake offers lessons to the world”

thecarol adds:

最必須祈福致敬的,是那些冒著必死決心留下來搶救的工作人員! RT @FNN_News: 政府、福島第2原発についても原子力災害緊急事態宣言 半径3km圏内の住民に避難指示 #FNN

The people that deserve most respect and prayer are staff team who stay and try to rescue (the nuclear power plant) with determination to sacrifice themselves. rt @FNN_News [jp] #FNN

This post is part of our special coverage on the Japan Earthquake 2011.

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