Category Archives: Japan

Fukushima 50 not doing it to save some executives’ hides

The Japanese PM “lays down the riot act” to Tepco executives:

Kan, who had already announced he would take personal control of a new joint-response headquarters involving the power company and the government, reportedly warned Tepco of serious consequences should it decide to pull its workers out before the plant has been made safe. “In the event of a withdrawal, I’m 100% certain that the company will collapse,” he said. “You must be determined to solve this.”

And so the workers stay:

Between 50 and 70 employees – now known in English as the Fukushima 50 – all in protective gear, were left at the plant to battle myriad problems. Some are assessing the damage and radiation levels caused by the explosions, while others cool stricken reactors with seawater to try to avert a potentially catastrophic release of radiation.

Something seems somewhat odious about this. The PM could’ve spoken to the workers directly, or passed on to them through their bosses that the nation was grateful for what they were doing, and would look after them and their families, and recognised that they are heroes – but instead it’s put in terms of how the executives can save their hides.

All I can say is, these brave people had better be lauded as heroes, and their names known around the world. (Like those who died smothering Chernobyl aren’t.) Their sacrifice isn’t being made for the company.

UPDATE (18/3): That’s more appropriate:

THEY are being hailed as the modern-day samurai – the 180 brave men who stayed behind to fight the crisis at Fukushima nuclear power plant knowing it was very likely they had volunteered for a suicide mission…

Prime Minister Naota Kan told the volunteers: “You are the only ones who can resolve a crisis. Retreat is unthinkable.”

I’m sure there was something in there about his gratitude, too.