When the unthinkable suddenly intrudes into reality, we are at a loss to explain it, much less to deal with it. Thus, when one of the worst-ever combinations of earthquake and tsunami hit northeast Japan last week, it was no surprise that many were looking for someone or something to blame.

In a March 13, 2011 article on NewsDaily, an online news site, a number of Japan’s residents were interviewed about their reactions to the catastrophe. “Letters to the editor printed in the Asahi Shimbun newspaper Sunday ran through a range of emotions, from praising the spirit of extending helping hands to strangers to fuming why infrastructure could collapse in this technologically advanced country,” the article notes.

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