Takamitsu Sawa’s Nov. 15 article, “Scientific mind meltdown” provides a lot of food for thought, valuable lessons and a peek into Japanese psychology. But are people really listening? I wonder.
Many individuals and corporations belong to the “Company A” category (believing that a system is absolutely safe if it has a perfect safety record so far). They believe that nothing can go wrong with Japan and have tremendous confidence in all systems.
But nature’s fury can humble the best technologies that we have. We should not forget the proverb: “Man proposes, God disposes.” If one is not religious, then he or she can simply replace the word “God” with “nature.”
In a different context, most Japanese people lament that, in Japan, “The stake that sticks out gets hammered down.” Everyone knows the problems, everyone understands, but no one does anything. Similarly, a lot of Japanese people are likely to understand the incisive criticism of individual and corporate consumers who desire nuclear plants but “not in my backyard.”
I have no problems believing that 95 percent of the people in Japan would place themselves in the “Company B” category (believing that every effort should be made to cope with the most unlikely event, since certainty does not exist in the real world), but I feel that most of them behave as “Company A” types in their day-to-day lives. Isn’t that perhaps the biggest irony in Japan now?
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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