• Fujisawa, Kanagawa


As the potentially worst nuclear accident ever continues to unfold at Fukushima, it has become quite common to read obfuscations and falsehoods from nervous and embarrassed Japanese officials. The May 19 Kyodo article from Geneva, “Japan offers WHO apology for nuclear crisis,” takes the cake.

Vice Minister for Health, Labor and Welfare Kohei Otsuka says the fact that the cooling system at the plant had been destroyed by the tsunami was not well known to World Health Organization members. This is totally untrue. It is public knowledge that the reactors’ cooling systems were wrecked by the tsunami. Was Otsuka’s statement meant for domestic consumption—to give regular Japanese the idea that their leaders are in control and are patronizingly advising the foreigners of their efforts?

Even worse, right next to that article was another report from Kyodo (“Release of radioactive water made at request of U.S.“) that the Cabinet’s “special adviser” Oriza Hirata had stated in Seoul that radioactive water was dumped into the ocean because of a “strong request” from the United States. Nowhere in this article does Hirata offer any proof of this absurd allegation. Perhaps it should be reiterated that Hirata’s occupation is that of a playwright, someone who makes things up.

Was his comment intended to blame foreigners for Japan’s mistakes? We’ve certainly heard that one before. Hirata goes on to say that Japan’s failure to give advance notification (of the release of radioactive water) was “a communication error.” I’ve heard that excuse before, too. It’s the weaselly denial used by revisionists and rightwingers to excuse the sneak attack at Pearl Harbor.

If Japanese officials wish to lie their way out of responsibility for this enormous environmental disaster, the least they could do is make up some new lies. The old ones are getting pretty tiring.

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.

donald feeney

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