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  1. Barry Pless, Collected and edited by
  1. Correspondence to Barry Pless, 434 Lansdowne, Westmount H3Y2V2, Canada; barry.pless{at}mcgill.ca

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From Japan: the earthquake and tsunami

This is being written 2 weeks after the earthquake and tsunami in Japan that has taken over 10 000 lives. Our hearts go out to our Japanese colleagues, their families and countrymen. This is only the latest of the many ‘natural disasters’ that have occurred since Injury Prevention was first published. None were preventable, but all prompt us to ask if there were measures that could have been taken to reduce the horrendous consequences. If so, these are lessons to be learnt, especially with respect to nuclear power plant safety. It now appears there may have been violations of safety regulations including, perhaps, construction specifications for buildings in earthquake areas. The placement of the backup generators has also been questioned. In support of possible violations, a neighbouring nuclear power plant (Onagawa) was nearer the epicentre and received the same magnitude of tsunami yet it is under control. Nevertheless, it is important to underscore that it appears the area withstood the earthquake well; it was the tsunami that was responsible for most of the damage. As of 29 March, there were 11 063 confirmed deaths and 17 258 persons missing. Information updated daily is available from the National Police Agency. http://www.npa.go.jp/archive/keibi/biki/index_e.htm.

From Japan: road traffic injuries

According to the National Police Agency, 4863 people died of road traffic injuries in 2010. This represents a continuous declining trend for the 10th straight year since 2000 when 9066 died. Whereas fatal crashes continued to decline from 8024 in 2000 to 4378, fatal crashes involving drink-driving showed steeper continuous …

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