As Japan struggles to come to grips with the scope and nature of the devastating earthquake and tsunami, its response will be shaped by more structural, fundamental aspects of its society and population.
That's according to Steve Clemons, senior fellow and director of the American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation and Director of the Japan Policy Research Institute.
He notes that natural disasters are revealing, as the stress they create can show the fault marks not just in the earth — but in societies. Such was the case for the United States in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Not so obvious issues like immigration policy can also reveal a weakness in the country's ability to recover, as the costs and labor needed to address the damage and disruption on such a scale are tremendous.
Clemons writes the "The Washington Note" blog - and spoke with Worldview's Jerome McDonnell about the deeper societal issues at play during the current crisis in Japan.