Don’t give in to sentimentality

Winona, Missouri

Regarding Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s March 14 article, “Renew commitment to building a new Japan“: It is commendable that the prime minister has promised to offer “timely and accurate information (about the Fukushima crisis) to the international community”. His predecessor, Naoto Kan failed, miserably on this score and lost much credibility. I, too, feel that the Japanese government could best remember the victims of the Fukushima nuclear plant meltdown by seeking criminal charges of gross negligence against those nuclear village “elders” who failed in their duties to protect the public from just such a disaster.

Noda is correct when he states that we can no longer claim that the events of 3/11 were unforeseen. Will Japan learn from its difficulties by continuing to rely on nuclear energy, or will it finally break with the past and seek safer alternative sources of energy? After the Chernobyl accident (1986), every nuclear nation should have been gripped with fear. Hubris allowed the Tepco power cartel to ignore this warning, when it should have been a wakeup call.

I doubt that many Japan Times readers agree with Noda’s assertion that Japan has made “remarkable progress” since the disaster. There are still huge piles of tsunami-earthquake debris along the coast of Tohoku. There’s much debate about how to cope with the tons and tons of soil and debris that were contaminated by radioactive fallout. Noda fails to mention any of this.

Japan rushed to embrace nuclear power in the 1960s. It is now time to carefully reflect on why governments should plan things very carefully. Rush to provide disaster relief to all the victims of last year’s Tohoku disaster, but don’t rush to rebuild. It’s a cliche, but there’s much waste when things are done in haste.

Please don’t allow local communities to rebuild towns inside the tsunami zone! Many older residents of tsunami-ravaged coastal towns and villages are demanding that they be allowed to rebuild on the same site where their beloved community once stood. This is tempting, but don’t give into such sentimentality. Just relocate them. Their grandchildren will thank you. Japan’s taxpayers shouldn’t have to rebuild the same towns again in 50 years or so.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

robert mckinney