*to Hanlon's razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Masao Yoshida, stone-cold hero.

The head of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant... told workers to disregard Tepco's order to stop injecting seawater into a reactor soon after the crisis erupted in March [saving Japan's ass!], according to government and other sources.
Read the rest here.

PM Kan admitted in an interview that the discussion about a full evacuation of Tokyo had begun.  Yoshida and the Tokyo Hyper Rescue Squad (with balls that big, you can call yourself whatever the fuck you want!) made this avoidable.  Tokyo is Japan: the rest are regions.  The rest can be nice, but government, business, entertainment... all of it is centred in Tokyo.  After a two-decade recession this country could not have picked itself up after that kind of a beat down.  Japan would have a N.Korean economy, because everyone with options would get out, leaving only the monolingual and ancient.

Here's the subtext:
- most Japanese cannot crisis-manage even if their own life is on the line (Fukushima, not changing their codes or tactics for all of WWII...)
- Japan elevates the most studied, not the most capable
- there is no sense of civic-responsibility individually, corporately, or in bureaucracies
- the power company did not communicate accurately to the bureaucracy, which did not communicate accurately to the Prime Minister's Office
- the power company was willing to put all of Tohoku and Kanto (Tokyo) at risk to try to save one plant already near the end of its working life, already damaged beyond repair
- none of the brass were on sight, at risk, or to asses the situation
- the power company CEO was missing for the first several days of the crisis
- personal connections are how anything gets done (Yoshida was a graduate of the same university as then PM Kan)
- the power company is all over the place about what kind of radiation sickness he has
- the tool in charge of the power company's nuclear plants is taking over for Yoshida instead of gouging out his own eyes

Yoshida stood against all of that and did the right thing.  Whether or not his illness is related to radiation, there is no reward large enough.  In jest, Socrates wanted Athens to pay for his meals.  I'd be happy for my taxes to go towards a sinecure for him, and every single member of his family, for a few generations.  After all, how many centuries would it have taken for ten prefectures to become inhabitable again?


  1. "Tokyo is Japan: the rest are regions."

    For some reason, I had to come back this morning and read that whole paragraph again. And then the entire post.

    What is kind of disturbing is thinking that Japan (Tokyo) is obviously a mere tectonic twitch away from oblivion. Is destruction of epic magnitude necessary for this place to change course? (No...I don't even want to start thinking about what's happened in the past, but I do it anyway)

    The regions are where people still know how to survive; they are very practiced at such things, though sometimes barely.

  2. Japan is one of few 'advanced nations' (whatever that means) which are so centralized, and the more vulnerable for it. The US has business, politics and entertainment in at least three separate cities, and would get through a disaster in any one of them; Japan, no.

    The regions would survive at the subsistence level fine, but with the loss of Tokyo, forget 'First World' status for Japan. Perversely, the potential tectonic destruction of Japan reminds me of how Japan renewed itself both after Perry's 'Black Ships' sailed into Tokyo Bay, and after the WWII destruction of most of its cities (America, lay off Japan, eh?!). A historical view would be that such a Phoenix-like renewal is what Japan needs, but that's not empathetic to the millions who'd suffer the interim. It also assumes that 'history repeats itself', or at least that: "History does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme." I don't assume that.

  3. Ant: "It is a royal privilege to do good and be ill spoken of." My brain just hyper-spaced thanks to Wikipedia. Feeling a little stretched, but good at the moment...thanks.

  4. Thanks for that. I am not sure which I more prefer:

    "We ought to make love to such women as will feel a proper gratitude."

    "When he was asked what advantage had accrued to him from philosophy, his answer was, 'The ability to hold converse with myself.'"