Long ago, life for the canary bird in a coalmine was described as short but very meaningful. Used to detect deadly gas build up in mines, canarys were caged and brought down into the mine. When the chirping stopped, it was time for miners to get out fast else they ended up like their small-feathered companions.
Today we say that to be a canary in a coal mine is to be a warning to others. I couldnt imagine a more fitting analogy then to say Japan is the canary for the U.S. And, fellow coalminers, Japan has stopped chirping.
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