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At long last a damaged world is beginning to heal and learn to laugh again. On March 11, a massive earthquake off Japan’s west coast set in motion a calamitous chain of events which would prove among the worst disasters (natural or otherwise) to befall humanity in its long and inglorious history. The devastation caused by the quake was horrific enough, but the resultant tsunami added to the death toll and caused a critical equipment failure and subsequent release of radioactive material at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant. Thousands of people died in the tragedy, and many more remain missing. More still face unknown peril from the radiation leak. For the Japanese, and for anyone who has been affected by this epic tragedy, the pain continues.
But for the rest of the world, it’s getting better. As radiation levels around the stricken nuclear power plant begin to drop, so too does the level of sensitivity with which observers must approach this disaster. In certain regions, the Japanese disaster is becoming safe for jokes.
Potential jokers are cautioned that jokes about this recent tragedy will remain in poor taste for some time, and as such may receive a bad reaction even in so-called ‘safe’ regions. However, unless you’re working for Nintendo, Sony or another Japanese outfit, you’re no longer likely to be fired for telling one.
The Japanese people, unable to list ‘well-developed sense of humor’ among their many national accomplishments, will most likely never see anything remotely funny about this catastrophe. Still, if any people have proven their resilience in surviving not one, but two previous nuclear disasters, it’s those hardy folk in the Land of the Rising Sun.