The Fukushima Commentary is a long-running “blog” by Leslie Corrice of what is actually going on in Japan as a consequence of the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on the 11th of March, 2011. taking around 16,000 lives and injuring thousands of others. The Fukushima Commentary has synopses from Japan’s media reporting, etc and a few comments on why such strange things are happening; not in response to the natural disaster that took the lives, but in response to fears of radiation that might cause a few deaths over the next 50 years.
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. — Arthur C. Clarke
While Japan fosters the illusion that it is a country of hi-tech geeks who all very bright and understand what makes their toys tick, it seems that the truth is far removed. While there are certainly technology leaders, the bulk of the population, and that, as in Australia, includes the ruling class is burdened by superstition and interested in maintaining the status quo; which in Japan is exacerbated by a strong tradition of respect for authority and sense of one’s place in society.
Japan consumes hi-tech with little appreciation of what goes into making stuff and what it takes to keep that stuff working. In recent decades, the chasm between technical understanding and the consumers of the technology has widened. (Same holds true for Australia and many “Western Countries”.)
Prosperity has produced apathy. Individuals tend to be obsessed with doing things that make them happy today. Quasi-religions spring up to fill that happiness void. People are accustomed to being told what they should do; even if they consult charlatans for advice. That seems to work until something breaks. And there’s nobody who understands enough and expresses it with sufficient confidence and persuasion to fix things quickly and effectively.
We must not let our fears of tomorrow prevent us from doing what we know has to be done today.
In the Fukushima Commentary you’ll read about political machinations, management that can’t manage because they have no technical appreciation of the technology that they are supposed to be managing; public relations officers who thought it was a good idea to present the improbable, worst-case scenario as though it were a likely outcome to the salivating media; fear mongers fuelling the debate; government paying people handsomely to be refugees, … The persistent disaster is one of man-made devastation wrought on the lives of those who lived in the region, evacuated and prohibited from returning home to rebuild. All due to the popular fantasy that there is no such thing as a safe dose of radiation and that radiation levels are “excessive” when they are a fraction of the background radiation levels experienced by several billion other people on the planet.
Some form of sanity will prevail. Eventually.
While overseas on holiday in June 2011, I had a brief and broken conversation with a post-grad student from Japan. I expressed confidence that, eventually, the peoples’ traditional resolve and common sense would triumph and let the people get back to their homes. But first the curtains of fear, woven by the deluded, the insane, the media, governments and NGO’s, have to be torn to shreds.
Many have acted shamefully.
There should be no profit from the misery of the innocent.
Take some time to read the Fukushima Commentary. The blog’s maintainer and author appreciates but doesn’t insist on donations to help him keep his blog running.