Tuesday, March 15, 2011


The spring MotoGP event at Twin Ring Motegi has been delayed until the fall. Motegi is on the northern edge of Tokyo's enormous urban agglomeration, about 1/3 of the distance, as the crow flies, between Tokyo proper and Sendai.
The Tokyo Motorcycle Show was due to start next week. The poster was adorable; it's been canceled. Talk about being left at the altar... (This is not the 'Tokyo Motor Show', where the first Honda CB750-Four was introduced in 1968. That's a biennial event that's mostly car-focused, held in Oct.-Nov.)
I haven't heard any detailed reports of damage to Honda's R&D facility, but with 1 person killed there and 30 injured (and considering Japan's strict building codes) it's safe to say damage to that facility was extensive. Honda's shut down all of its Japanese motorcycle factories for the time being; I haven't heard whether this was because of supply chain disruptions, or if there's some other reason -- maybe to reduce strain on the electrical grid. Japan is an island; all of it's electrical power is generated there, and I don't know what percentage of it was produced in the nuclear reactors which are now permanently offline.

Which brings me to this: There is a small crew of engineers and techs working in and around those reactors in the effort to prevent an exponentially more serious catastrophe. (I recently read that all but 50 to 70 workers had been pulled off the site.) Those who remain are all risking (or should I write 'certainly facing') cancer or worse. The threat is completely amorphous; they're doing it to save people who they'll never see or know, so it they simply chose not to come in, they'd save themselves without ever having to face any particular victim. They're doing it with no guarantee that it will work -- in fact, no one really even knows what 'working' would look like.

This is a special kind of courage and devotion to a larger cause. The people on that crew should be identified. The rest of us should know to whom our respect and gratitude is owed.


  1. Well communicated, Mark. How do we make that happen?

    Steve D.
    Fair Oaks, CA

  2. As one who works in the nuclear industry, you are correct. Those that stayed behind are very aware of the risks, both long and short term. They are most likely picking up many times the normal allowable occupational dose. Thier internal uptakes will be with them for a long time after the accident.

    They chose to stay behind and do the right thing. God Bless

    Yankeetown,FL & Mtn Rest,S.C.