Fukushima: Breach of Trust

Fukushima: Breach of Trust

From Forbes

Davia Temin
Follow Me
Apr. 29 2011 – 7:23 pm

As news of the enormity of the Japanese earthquake, tsunami and nuclear breach made its way around the world, our emotional responses were tugged in so many directions.

First, of course, came profound sadness, concern and compassion for the people of Japan.  Mother Nature is not only fickle, but sometimes downright evil. And losing over 14,000 souls to one natural disaster was devastating.

Then came admiration – for the way the Japanese were handling their trials and privations. No civil disobedience, few public displays of emotion, people lined up for provisions, sharing with one another when supplies ran out. “Gaman” we learned they call it, and it means: “enduring the seemingly unbearable with patience and dignity.”   Quite a feat to meet total disaster with gaman, and the Japanese society rose even higher in our estimation.

But then, we all learned some far more disturbing truths. Fukushima, the giant nuclear complex located just south of the tsunami ground zero, was damaged. Western pundits began to expound on what could or could not be happening, but we learned relatively little in real time. However as time went by, we found that the situation was really far more dire than we had been told. Nuclear reactor rods had become exposed, and radioactive material had been flowing into the ocean, possibly from the start. There had been a nuclear BREACH, but few inside or outside of Japan had been informed.

Shades of Toyota and British Petroleum — why had the public not been told right away?  We understand that in the midst of chaos and fatal disaster the first obligation of an organization is not to hold a press conference. But, as time went by, what was the responsibility of TEPCO, the Japanese utility that runs Fukushima, to tell Japanese citizens, and the world’s citizens, what was going on?

In fact, what occurred were two major breaches in Japan – one nuclear, the other of trust. How much radiation exposure did the average Japanese receive in those desperate moments and days? Should they have evacuated more widely, sooner? What are the true parameters of the disaster? How does this breach affect the rest of the world? Should parents in North Dakota watch how much milk their babies drink? What about in Indonesia, or in Tokyo?

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