Japan government on nuclear crisis: Not lying, not telling the truth
The Japanese government may be making the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant worse by not telling the whole truth.
This story was originally covered by PRI's The Takeaway. For more, listen to the audio above.
Fear, uncertainty and panic surround the possible disaster at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. And the Japanese government may be making it worse. The politicians are "trying very very hard not to lie without telling the truth," Noriko Hama, Vice Dean of Doshisha University in Kyoto told The Takeaway. " They're sort of skirting the issue, really not sharing what is happening with the people, which obviously makes the fears and the uncertainties worse."
Officials in Japan are displaying an "exaggerated fear of creating panic," according to Hama. She says, " I think they could be much much more forthright about what is actually happening what the dangers are what are the necessary things to be frightened of, what to ignore and so on and so forth."
The response is a very typically bureaucratic one, but culture also plays a role. "The bureaucrats have always been very used to working with the same people," Hama points out. "So this sort of inertia and the skirting-the-issues culture has kind of become very entrenched, which is certainly not helping at this moment."
Officials from the power company Tepco are some of the biggest culprits making the situation worse, according to Hama. While she understands that the company is in crisis, she says, "I think they could have put on a much better show of being forthright and looking like the experts that they ought to be, but that's certainly not the image that they have created for themselves so far."
The government, meanwhile, has been unable to improve the situation. Hama says, "The government is sort of turning into a messenger boy for Tepco, and the power lobby."
"Everyone has to rethink their roles and their positions," Hama told The Takeaway. Tepco can no longer hide behind the government, and people need to start being more forthright about the situation. "It's actually quite simple really," Hama says. People need "to tell the truth to be very honest, to share information with people."
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