2011年4月15日金曜日

Stress

Tokyo (CNN) -- The words "Ganbaro Nippon" -- "Be strong, Japan" -- shine down on the nation's capital nightly from the soaring steel of the landmark Tokyo Tower.

But a society known worldwide for its culture of stoicism has been knocked a bit off balance by the one-two punch of a massive earthquake and a nuclear disaster, according to both ordinary residents and experts. Andrew Grimes, a clinical psychologist working in Japan, said the events and their literal and figurative aftershocks have had "a severe effect on people's sense of security."

"It's uncharted territory to some extent," Grimes said. "But I think the mental health aspect is already with us, and it's going to stay with us for a while."

Stress levels rise in rattled Japan - CNN.com

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But in the shadow of Fukushima Daiichi, fears about possible contamination of the basics of life --- food and water -- have fueled an "enormous inability to calm down," said Grimes, the director of Tokyo Counseling Services. And many people in Tokyo who depend on trains to get around "are very concerned and afraid of being stuck again, like we all were on that first Friday."

Grimes said psychiatrists and psychologists expect to see an increased number of patients suffering from depression, anxiety, sleeplessness, nightmares and problems with appetite in the coming months.

"We've had many more people first-time people coming in, including couples," he said.

As the nuclear crisis drags on, both the Japanese government and Tokyo Electric have faced increasing criticism of their early response and the utility's inability to offer an estimate of when it might be resolved. Prime Minister Naoto Kan's ruling Democratic Party of Japan took a beating in the first round of local elections Sunday, losses he said Tuesday were "very difficult for our party." And with the crisis also pinching Japan's economy, Kan urged citizens to ease up on some self-imposed austerity measures.