One aspect of the disastrous earthquake and tsunami is that it has caused certain food items to disappear from stores all over the Kanto region. Although I live in Chiba, hundreds of kilometers away from the disaster area, you'd be hard pressed to find milk, rice, bottled water, bread, instant noodles, or any other packaged ready-to-eat item. That said, the shelves are still full of fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, and fish.
The shelves at my local supermarket look like this:
These food items started flying off the shelves last Sunday. I knew something was amiss as I headed out with my wife to do our Sunday shopping. The first thing was the huge traffic snarl right in front of where we live. People were lining up around the block to get gas at the local gas station. The lineup stretched at least two blocks and was clogging up the intersection. We took a detour and headed to the supermarket. The parking lot was full (that was odd), so we went to Yamaya instead. We were greeted by empty shelves. All of the bottled water and rice was gone. Back to the supermarket, it was the same story. No bottled water, no rice, no bread, no ramen, no packaged food. It was all gone. A trip to two more supermarkets revealed the same. The shortage of food also extended to delivery services such as CO-OP and Pal System. Our order from CO-OP was missing all the packaged food we ordered.
My wife seems to think that all we need to do to prepare for an earthquake is to have just enough to survive for two or three days until aid arrives. The response to the tsunami tells me otherwise; coordination from the government has been bad. It's been a week and these items are still missing from store shelves. Food has also been slow getting to the disaster area. Perhaps the public knows better than to expect a coordinated response from the government?