The World Mourns with Japan

The Japanese have suffered not only from a magnitude 9.0 earthquake, but they have experienced a devastating tsunami.  Even though Japan is the world’s third wealthiest nation, these events would present overwhelming challenges for any nation.  Its location has subjected the country to repeated earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic activity.  Over 127 million people live in an area roughly the size of California, which further complicates their dire situation.  As nations of the world respond in the face of catastrophic destruction, death tolls and extent of damage are still unknown.

Japanese flags in their homeland and around the word fly at half-staff following the custom practiced in most countries.  As everywhere this shows that the mourning for loss is shared by the Japanese people and others.  Indeed the world shares the sense of tragic loss suffered by Japan.

A second method of mourning is sometimes visible in Japanese flag display.  Dating from the death of the Emperor Meiji in 1912, the Hinomaru or flag of the sun disc is raised on a flagpole where the ball ornament topping the pole has been covered with black cloth.  Above the Japanese flag flies a black pennant .

The Japanese Cabinet has the authority to specify the display of Japan’s national flag in times of mourning.  Whatever form that may take, the world mourns with Japan.

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