iOS app Android app More

David Wagner

GET UPDATES FROM David Wagner
 

Report From Tokyo: Telling It Like It Is

Posted: 07/03/11 05:13 PM ET

In scathing terms, one of Japan's honest citizens lashed out the other day, claiming that rather than do what is in the best interest of the people, the government is simply making decisions to "prolong its own life."

Toshiso Kosako, one of Japan's leading experts on nuclear safety, resigned in April in disgust as "acceptable" radiation levels were raised to those equal to nuclear workers near the Fukushima nuclear facility -- a move he felt put citizens in harm's way.

I like Mr. Kosako a lot and wrote about his bravery in a previous blog note two months ago. He tells it like it is. And he held little back in his piercing attack on the powers that be, noting that ocean testing for radiation exposure to marine life has been limited and that the fall harvest season of radiated rice will create "havoc." We shall see. In the meantime, I stopped eating fish from surrounding Japanese waters two months ago and have developed a love for imported pasta from Italy and canned spaghetti sauce.

Mr. Kosako knows how Japan works. For this reason, he intends to put pressure on Japan from outside Japan. "Gaiatsu," or outside pressure, has proven to be a most effective way of initiating change here. Many non-Japanese know this, too.

Of equal importance and through his actions, Mr. Kosako raises the issue of who works for whom. Since March, the people of Japan have never really realized the power they possess to be the ultimate initiators of desired change. I pointed this out in a previous blog note. It is the taxpayers of Japan who are the bosses and public servants the employees, not the other way around. In time, the masses will "get it."

Signs of enlightenment are happening. A group of residents, including a mayor in Shizuoka Prefecture, have filed a lawsuit seeking to decommission the Hamaoka nuclear power plant for safety reasons. In addition, the governor of Saga Prefecture has come under fire at their prefectural assembly for his willingness to see the restart of two reactors at the Genkai nuclear power station. They see why there is reason for concern. And at the recent Tokyo Electric Power shareholders meeting, heckles and shouts greeted the leadership. So slowly there is evidence that limits have been reached.

Let us also not forget those suffering up north near the reactor zone. Tens of thousands of people are still living in gymnasiums and other public facilities with no privacy and increasingly no hope. Suicides are on the rise as feelings of desperation win over images of a bright future. Even so, many prefer to stay in this situation (vs. opt for recently-built government housing) because at least where they are guaranteed food each day. Wiped out and with no savings, knowing they can eat wins out over privacy. What a choice.

 

Follow David Wagner on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Japan.Food.Safe