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During the past month, pundits in the domestic and foreign news media have praised the stoicism of the people who were affected by the Tohoku-Pacific earthquake and tsunami. This is certainly an attribute that I am proud of as a Japanese person. But how come this unprecedented disaster does not also trigger big protests against nuclear power like the one in Germany?

This reminds me of the following cultural differences that I read about between the way a mother with a young child might react toward an approaching assailant. A Japanese mother would turn their back to shield their child.

Mothers from Western countries would face and stand up to a potential assailant to protect their child. I asked some of my female college students how they would react to such a situation. They all said they would turn around and shield their child.

Japanese people today must go a step further than mere stoicism and speak up against nuclear power before politicians and experts say “we still need nuclear power plants.”

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.

yasue shinomiya

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