Sharing Tepco’s bill; family’s tough choice

People must share Tepco burden

Re: “A victim of Tepco’s yakuza-style extortion” (Have Your Say, June 14) by Blues Bowman:

If this letter had been written when the plant was built, fair enough, but we have to consider the situation as it stands now. We cannot revisit the past.

Since the (Fukushima No. 1) plant was built, you chose to live in Japan, a country that has its imperfections, like any other. You knew (or should have known) that nuclear plants were everywhere, and you knew (or should have known) that earthquakes and tsunamis were a risk.

And you relied on politicians to protect you, as well as regulators. In this latest regard, the system failed. Why should one company pay?

In addition, regarding earthquakes, we have to remain humble. Any operator that might have decided to build a plant at the Fukushima No. 1 site would have been granted a permit to do so and would have built a similar plant with similar safeguards. And an earthquake is a random event, as per our current understanding of them.

This also means that Fukushima No. 1 was hit by pure luck of the draw. Any other plant could have been similarly hit.

So stop with the offended virgin act. Stop with the hypocrisy. The decision to guarantee Tepco’s loans is both good for the Japanese people and the only logical solution for the industry. Government backing will allow Tepco to meet its liabilities, therefore ensuring that those who have lost their homes or part of their wages recover them, and the participation of other companies is an acknowledgment of the fact that, on the scale of human knowledge of earthquakes, only blind luck explains why Tepco’s installations were struck instead of any other firm’s plants.

As for a raise in your electricity bill, how is that different than government participation? It is only more direct, geographically restricted, and will encourage electricity savings. As long as it is only footing a very small portion of the total cleanup and cold-shutdown bill, as well as the additional costs of producing electricity from other sources, it is a reasonable portion of the entire solution.

Most people’s first reflex is to be selfish, to benefit from everything Japan has to offer when all is going well. And now that there is a glitch in the matrix, you just want to bail out? Pun intended.


Support for the Nishidas’ plight

I have just read the article on the Nishida family’s struggle (“Fearing radiation, family quits Japan,” Zeit Gist, June 14) and my heart goes out to Reina and her brothers. The decision they are making is such a difficult one, but the love and support they show for each other will see them through the challenges ahead.

I am a mother of two children in Kitakyushu, and I think about the future of our adopted home and how it will be effected by the ongoing crisis at the Fukushima nuclear plant. I, too, am disappointed with how much information has been “mistaken” or withheld, and admire the strength of the Nishidas to speak out about their worries at a time when doing so is often seen as unpatriotic or selfish. Because I can’t speak openly about my own concerns with those in my community, I must silently struggle to rethink and reevaluate our family’s long-term plans.

I am from Alberta, Canada, but many of my friends and family are living in Vancouver. My husband (American) and I have lived in Japan for 17 years, and face daily struggles raising children in a foreign country. I would love to send Reina an email or Skype her to lend any support I can to her and her family during their transition. I admire the Nishida family’s courage, and would like them to know that they have people who they can turn to for help or advice.