In her July 18 letter, “Deserving of a medal of honor,” Nico Roehreke writes that Tokyo Electric Power Co. manager Masao Yoshida deserves a posthumous national medal of honor [for his relentless efforts to deal with the effects of the meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant after the March 11, 2011, disasters. Yoshida, 58, died this month from esophagus cancer].
I must point out another side to this tragedy — its cause. Tepco managers also worked hard to avoid improving the seawalls and backup electrical systems in the years before the disaster, despite repeated warnings by nuclear regulators and scientists. They also ignored 1,400 years of reliable recorded history regarding Japanese earthquakes and tsunami.
The culture of dealing with problems by ignoring them makes it seem as though Japan’s nuclear industry has been managed by those classic Nikko characters See No Evil, Hear No Evil and Speak No Evil. Yakuza are now among those handling the cleanup operations in Fukushima because they work much cheaper than experienced foreign decontamination experts.
Japan has lost half a beautiful prefecture and its best fishing grounds, and the Pacific Ocean is threatened with a continual flow of radioactive water for the rest of this century, or longer.
Remember that the men who did what they could to contain the nuclear disaster also did all they could to create it.
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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