Tepco Officials formally apologize for the nuclear accident at Fukushima Daichi.
Japan must be the most fascinating country in the world. It has these formal stylized rituals which are almost medieval. See the formal, ritualized apology of the Tepco officials for the nuclear disaster.
Of course, they were not responsible for a 9.0 earthquake and tsunami, though it is surprising that their nuclear contingency plans did not account for it.
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My father, a Chartered Accountant, who worked at Tatas, India’s largest steel company, was responsible for bringing in the first computers to Tatas. His official designation was “Controller of Accounts, and Manager of Data Processing.” He frequently travelled to Japan and Pittsburg, as well as Europe.
Japan’s mixture of refined aesthetics, practical ingenuity, discipline, and a society totally opaque to the foreigner fascinated him, and my chess-loving husband too, who bravely did his final year of school in Japan, in a Japanese medium school to improve his Go. (That’s another story!).
I was fascinated by Japan, the politeness and decency of the people, and its sheer impenetrability and opacity to the foreigner. I felt I would never really understand these people, and what makes them tick.
But it is a wonderful honourable culture, isn’t it?
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Interestingly, if honour and saving face weren’t so important, I wonder if they would have been more forthcoming about the disaster.
I am troubled about their kamikaze exposure of their workers to what is potentially “lethal” doses of radiation according to Jazko’s testimony to Congress. They have officially reported 20 to the IAEA as having radiation contamination.
I wonder what the US would have done? Would she have sent workers in knowing that they would be very likely to die. Or ? Evacuate the environs and declare it a wasteland? However, evacuating Tokyo, where a quarter of the country’s population live , 150 miles away from Fukushima is probably unthinkable for the economy.
Every so often, in the lives of nations as in individual lives, we come to the limits of what human intelligence, ingenuity and discipline can accomplish. I wonder if we are seeing that in Fukushima.