I am very disappointed, but not surprised, by the publication of the May 29 front-page AP article “Memo emblematic of disaster plan flaws.” In the article, Tokyo Electric Power Co. is castigated for not knowing that there were apparent advances in science showing the potential for large earthquakes and tsunamis in the region around the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
Why should this cause me disappointment? There are tens of thousands of reasons — those killed or missing from the March 11 Tohoku-Pacific earthquake.
How on earth can a Japan-based newspaper post an article condemning Tepco for underestimating the tsunami risks but not bring greater ire to bear on those responsible for advising the Tohoku area on disaster preparedness and countermeasures?
I certainly cannot forget the images of evacuation centers devastated by the tsunami — and the testimony of the few people who made it out of those centers alive. Are they to be ignored? Are they forgotten by journalists already?
I say “apparent” advances in science (above) because I am suspicious as to why all those responsible for disaster preparedness across the Tohoku region were not aware of the facts that Tepco seems to have ignored. Perhaps the advances in science mentioned were not accepted by mainstream seismology. That would at least explain why not only Tepco but all of Tohoku seemed unaware of these advances in the science. Perhaps journalists are applying hindsight, and selectively at that.
In either case, journalists appear uncaring toward the suffering unleashed along the Pacific coast of Tohoku as well as unable to follow evidence logically. I think The Japan Times should investigate the support in the scientific community for the studies referred to in the article and, if they are widely supported, push for justice for the tsunami victims. If the studies are not widely supported, then an apology is the least the paper can do.
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.
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