M, 38


M, 38

Tour Conductor and MC

Are you worried about radiation from Fukushima?

I should worry about it, but it's not close so I forget to think about it.  I'm more worried about PM 2.5 from China than radiation. But I have friends in Tohoku so I worry about them. One of my friends has a 3-year-old girl.  They live in Iwate Prefecture.

What do you think about that?

We can't see it so it's scary.  It gradually, slowly causes problems in our bodies.  Nobody talks about that.  The sky has no border.  The wind from Fukushima doesn't stop at the edge of a prefecture.

Why do you think that nobody talks about it?

Hmm.  Everybody thinks about it. 

Do you talk about the dangers of radiation with friends. 

Not at all. I have a friend with a new baby and a 4-year-old child.

So why not talk about it?

We can't do anything about it.  Nothing can be done to stop the wind or the radiation.  If we talk about it we will panic.  But after some time, people outside of Fukushima will get sick.

Is radiation a danger here in Fukuoka?

Not now.

What do you think of Kitakyushu burning radioactive tsunami debris?

They thought about it a lot and finally decided to accept it.  It was an agonizing choice.  If I could choose, I wouldn't want to live near it.  It's not 100% safe.

Do you think it's dangerous for children in Kitakyushu?

I don't want to think about it.

If you could, please consider it for a moment and tell me what you think.

I don't know how they're burning it. 

I read that they're burning it in small amounts with the regular household garbage.  They are burning it in the same way that they burn that regular garbage.


Do they talk about radiation being dangerous in the media?


Are they being honest about how safe the radiation is?

In Japan we have a free press.  But if you are worried about these things there are people researching them like in universities.

Do you trust the media?

The mass media doesn't lie.  I used to work in TV and broadcasting.  But they don't want to panic people so they don't talk about it.  The timing is not right now.  Maybe later.

Is that ethical?

It's already been two years.  If it's truly dangerous, they should tell us now.

Do you trust the media, then?

The mass media doesn't lie.  But the government is definitely hiding something.

We Japanese understand that this is very dangerous, but we don't know how dangerous it is.  Our grandparents and great-grandparents had diseases from the atomic bombs.   

If the government is hiding something that is important for people to know about for their health and the health of their children, is it the press's job to tell the people what the government is hiding?

We have two expressions, "事なかれ主義"  "Peace and harmony at any price" and "多数派" "the majority".  The consensus of the group is preferred, and the individual should not stand out.  In many situations, we have to wait until people are ready to accept news or a discovery or a new opinion, even though it may take time to reach that point where a consensus is safely reached.

We know that not just radiation, but PM 2.5 is also harmful to our health.  But newscasters don't want to cause a panic, so they gently give information.    So even though radiation is more dangerous, the newscasters give indirect and gentle warnings about PM 2.5 so as not to cause a panic.  To give warnings about radiation would cause too much of a panic.  Japan is very small, there is no place to run to.  Everyone can't flee to Kyushu. 

Ten years ago, I went to China and realized the pollution would be dangerous in Japan in the near future.  But it took ten years for that idea to be accepted by the public.  Even if individual journalists write about radiaton in low-circulation weekly publications, not enough people will read about it.  The idea will not have resonance with the public.  It will not reach a consensus. 



M, 38



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