It is not just the scale of the destruction that has set the terrible events in Japan apart from many other natural disasters of recent decades, it was also the unprecedented, prompt coverage the world was offered live as the damage unfolded.

Monocolumn is Monocle’s daily bulletin of news and opinion. Catch up with previous editions here.

It is not just the scale of the destruction, the level of the horror and the magnitude of the tremors that has set the terrible events in Japan apart from many other natural disasters of recent decades, it was also the unprecedented, prompt coverage the world was offered live as the damage unfolded.

From the air, Japan’s military – known as the Self-Defense Forces – and Coast Guard sent those first bird’s eye views of the tsunami as it rolled inland, streaming videos from their helicopters and planes that will no doubt go down in history. Then followed ordinary Japanese civilians with their mobile phones and cameras, narrated with panicked yelps as they watched their cities and villages wiped off the map. Google Earth and Geo-Eye have since provided satellite pictures of streets and buildings in orderly patterns before Friday and the wasteland afterwards.

PREMIUM SUBSCRIPTION CONTENT
This content is available for Premium Subscribers only.
Already a subscriber? Log in