When will ‘experts’ get serious?

Regarding the July 23 front-page AFP-JIJI article “Tepco now admits radioactive water entering the sea at Fukushima“: What is it about Japan’s nuclear village and its continued defiance, lies and arrogant denial in the face of mounting radioactive contamination and the threat of crippling illness or death to residents throughout the Fukushima region? Just how stupid are the top-level executives at Tokyo Electric Power Co. and how sheepish is the Japanese public?

This is a catastrophic disaster made in Japan’s version of heaven — where everyone tries to find harmony. Fatalistic resignation seems to be the attitude of the people when they hear about the ever-worsening crisis at Fukushima’s No. 1 nuclear power plant.

Tepco has been receiving a “massive infusion” of public funds since 3/11. For this reason alone, the public has a right to know everything about the disaster itself and the recovery operation. The Abe government and Tepco seem to be trying to keep a lid on things so as not to further alarm the Japanese public and arouse the anti-nuclear crowd. Never before has Japan looked to all the world like one vast “nuclear mushroom” farm.

What other troubling data is Tepco keeping from the public, with the connivance of the government in power, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party?

Tepco is reported in the article as having admitted that radioactive water is entering the sea from the Fukushima No. 1 plant — just a few days after the Upper House election! Should we all be thankful the election wasn’t delayed until next year?

And how ludicrous it sounds for environmental experts to warn that the festering radioactive core could contaminate the food chain. Uh, here’s a news flash — the food chain is already contaminated. A fish caught in the sea near the stricken plant was found to be 2,500 times more radioactive than the legal limit.

What does this mean? Is no one ever going to hit the panic button and demand action?

Silent stoicism served the peasant class well during the Edo Period, but the farming community never faced radioactive contamination. Nor did Japan have a government grounded in democratic principles back then. The postwar industrialists’ dreams of a world-class economy powered by nuclear energy and a submissive salaryman labor force have failed.

robert mckinney
otaru, hokkaido

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.

  • jansob1

    “Is no one ever going to hit the panic button and demand action?”

    No. No one is going to do anything. The Japanese people are going to watch their country be slowly destroyed, and they are going to willingly continue to vote in the people they know allowed it to happen. And they will say “Shoganai” and go back to watching variety shows and pretending it’s not happening.

    Watching a disaster unfold while doing nothing to stop it is truly the most basic facet of modern Japanese psychology, whether the disaster is a major one like Fukushima, or a minor one like a failing business or government policy. Success and failure are not the goal. Being a quiet, submissive servant to those above you is the only goal. No matter what, you must not make waves. Hitting a panic button might imply that someone above you made a mistake, and that cannot be allowed to happen. Disturds the “wa”, you know.

    Watch your children die of cancer? Fine, as long as no one makes a fuss.
    Starve when the fish are too hot to eat? Sure, as long as you do it quietly.

    Call in Russian or French or American experts who have a totally different philosophy and will actually solve the problem? No way, it might make the TEPCO executives uncomfortable. And we can’t have that.