Time magazine on Thursday named the mayor of Minamisoma, Fukushima Prefecture, as one of the world's 100 most influential people this year for using YouTube to criticize the government's response to the nuclear crisis that isolated his city.
Katsunobu Sakurai is listed in the electronic edition of the 2011 TIME 100 list, which also includes Dr. Takeshi Kanno, 31, who was on duty at a public hospital in Minamisanriku, Miyagi Prefecture, when the mega-quake and tsunami slammed the town on March 11.
Another list of the 100 most influential people chosen by the magazine's online poll, meanwhile, had workers at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant ranked 16th.
Sakurai, 55, said in a roughly 11-minute English-captioned video recorded on March 24 that the government's directive for residents within a ring of 20 to 30 km from the nuclear plant to stay indoors to avoid radioactive fallout had made life extremely hard for residents. Time said Sakurai, 55, abandoned the usual politesse and "lashed out at Japan's political and economic establishment, which had ignored his frantic calls and, as a result, left thousands of local residents stuck in a nuclear no-go zone."