Under pressure

Mats, bedding, chairs, slippers, empty bowls and cups lie on the floor of the gymnasium at Karino Elementary School, which was used as an evacuation shelter shortly after the nuclear crisis erupted, in the town of Namie, Fukushima Prefecture, on July 26.

by Robert Moorehead

These articles from the Japan Times and the Mainichi Daily News raise questions about the Japanese government’s response to the multiple disasters of March 11, especially its decisions about what information to share with the Japanese people. Disasters never follow the nice, neat plans prepared by bureaucrats and scientists. But when you’re deciding what information to share with the public, whose ass do you cover? Whose interests win out? Do you risk worrying people unnecessarily? Do you risk letting innocent people suffer from radiation exposure because you decided not to warn them a plume was likely heading in their direction? Whose interests does the bureaucracy serve?

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