The other side of self-sacrifice

In her July 18 letter, “Deserving of a medal of honor,” Nico Roehreke writes that Tokyo Electric Power Co. manager Masao Yoshida deserves a posthumous national medal of honor [for his relentless efforts to deal with the effects of the meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant after the March 11, 2011, disasters. Yoshida, 58, died this month from esophagus cancer].

I must point out another side to this tragedy — its cause. Tepco managers also worked hard to avoid improving the seawalls and backup electrical systems in the years before the disaster, despite repeated warnings by nuclear regulators and scientists. They also ignored 1,400 years of reliable recorded history regarding Japanese earthquakes and tsunami.

The culture of dealing with problems by ignoring them makes it seem as though Japan’s nuclear industry has been managed by those classic Nikko characters See No Evil, Hear No Evil and Speak No Evil. Yakuza are now among those handling the cleanup operations in Fukushima because they work much cheaper than experienced foreign decontamination experts.

Japan has lost half a beautiful prefecture and its best fishing grounds, and the Pacific Ocean is threatened with a continual flow of radioactive water for the rest of this century, or longer.

Remember that the men who did what they could to contain the nuclear disaster also did all they could to create it.

donald feeney
fujisawa, kanagawa

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.

  • tomado

    And now the creators of this disaster have been given back the keys to the castle.

  • Starviking

    This is a nice simple mail on how TEPCO did everything’s their power to allow a tsunami to destroy their power station. The problem is, if they did ignore 1400 years of reliable recorded history on tsunamis in the area and the experts too, then why did the rest of the Pacific coast of Tohoku too? Perhaps the experts didn’t warn them? That seems strange given that the 1400 years of history pointed to a big tsunami on the Sendai Plains – not Fukushma.

    Perhaps the matter is a bit more complex, and less amenable to easy finger pointing?