I have decided we are staying (we got 100% of our fare back). I refuse to be the first one screaming out of the theatre, when the fire is not going to harm me, and get trampled in the doorway. This is not Chernobyl, for various technical reasons. The reality is that any increased background radiation will be far less than the radiation we would expose ourselves to on an international flight, much less the stress of getting there, much less the regular petri-dish of viruses among anxious crowds on the train, plane, and in the terminal.
If there is increased background radiation on the long-term, which there is not in Tokyo at present, we will leave in an orderly fashion. We have food in the house for a month, water and fuel for a week, and power, gas and water are still running. We have not yet had even one blackout locally. We have the support of my native-wife's family, and her aunt's access to goods through her store. We have obligations to my family and to my wife's, but in the final analysis my family is in Canada, and though it isn't really dangerous here in Tokyo, everyone is freaked out and us leaving doesn't help. Getting to the airport would also be an ordeal we do not need. I respect the decision to stay or to go, so I am neither advocating nor criticizing anyone. This is the decision we came to. Best of luck to everyone, and lets remember who is truly suffering: the dead, their families and the people exposing themselves to danger to help them and to control the reactors.
There has been some mild panic buying here in Katsushika-ku, Tokyo. Gas is short, but you wouldn't get anywhere by car if everyone got on the roads anyway, so that's moot. There is food, but cup-noodles and like are gone. Canister gas is gone, but we have plenty. Forget about batteries: after this I am buying a wind-up/solar radio. We can't get baby-bottom wipes, but have some and can improvise. This barely qualifies as inconvenience. The most panicked have been the older people, but I cannot blame anyone who remembers hunger from their childhood. Bear in mind it is a Japanese mild-panic, not a North-American armed with guns panic.
Tepco is beyond the pale, but so is the political and bureaucratic establishment. These types of reactors should not have been built where they were, as they were, and operated by a company which has shown grievous negligence over an extended period of time. It has been so outrageous that this cannot be called an 'accident', but a 'result'. My wife has heard on the news that there is no nuclear emergency task force, civilian or military. With something over a third of their power coming from nuclear, and North Korean and Chinese neighbours, that is not negligent: that is insane. Now they need to solve that. Next they need to make people up and down the ladder pay for that. The Kan government will fall, but it was going to anyway. The LDP has been the post-war de facto government, so I hope their support evaporates.
Which brings me to my final topic. How I hope Japan's 'business as usual' changes. The first thing to note is that whatever positive social and political changes may come out of this, it is not worth the price of the dead, and the suffering. The second thing to point out is that I am not judging from a position of superiority: Japan has its faults, and god knows so do all of the Anglo countries, so let's just stow that $#!+. That out of the way, the Japanese public should use this opportunity to shake up the old system, as they did in the Meiji-shin, and as they did after WWII. The society has been politically and socially docile, even though nearly everyone broods on Japan's demographic, economic, bureaucratic and political shortcomings. I hope they get angry, and direct that anger at the right targets.