Time does not permit the detailed study a topic of this importance merits (it would be an excellent PhD project for a bi-lingual Japanese-English speaking PhD candidate) but here is what we do know:
1. The risks were known.
2. A tsunami risk was specificially brought up and dismissed at a critical juncture.
3. There was no “what if” planning or critical supply chain planning for contaminated water and food.
We speculate that an intense look at the information terrain surrounded Japan’s nuclear and global warming and related environmental degradation and energy-commercial competitiveness discussions will yield an almost perfect understanding of where the data asymmetries and information pathologies were that allowed Industrial Era decision systems (inherently secret and corrupt) to ignore open source information on risk.
This is also a good place to study how disasters turn into catastrophes instead of remaining disasters, for lack of the proper political-legal, socio-economic, and ideo-cultural mindsets.
Fifty years from today, the catastrophe in Japan may be regarded as the moment of awakening for the global mind.