Regarding the Evacuation Zones in Fukushima:
I am not particularly concerned of, or upset by, the difference in the size of the evacuation zones set by different governments. In the area that they have no direct control over, it is understandable that the foreign governments try to be absolutely sure that their citizens, whose Japanese language abilities vary, are physically and mentally safe even when a panic occurs, as well as being out of the way of emergency rescue efforts. And it is easier to handle the relocation of the smaller populations of foreigners (well, maybe except for China) than that of the entire population of the Japanese residents in Fukushima. What annoys me is that the foreign media, like this article in NYT, sees it as evidence that the Japanese government is overly optimistic about the situation and is not informing the Japanese citizens about the possible danger. When it comes to this, The UK has been more calm (see British Embassy’s briefing on the 15th). I don’t know if Asahi’s short article on the American government, even Mr. Jaczko of NRC, not objecting the measures taken by the Japanese government is an excessively defensive reading of their messages, but it is astonishing to see that NYT has been instigating more panic than offering balanced views.
I really hope those outside Japan listen to the voices of those who are currently living in Japan, even if they decided not to trust the Japanese government. Americans in Japan are trying to speak up in the American media. Read The New Yorker’s Postcard from Japan and Washington Post’s opinion piece, and watch Daniel Kahl’s youtube message.
Sigh. I have no patience to point out each of the cultural images provoked by the English-language media about Japan. Apparently their favorite words are “stoic” and “ready for certain deaths.” Many, I noticed, are too embarrassed to say “like samurai,” but I can almost hear it. People in Japan greatly appreciate those who are at the nuclear plants to conduct all the operations, but it is called “great professionalism,” not samurai spirits.
On another note, I encountered a webpage that collected horrible tweets that show racial discriminations against Koreans and Chinese. I have not talked with my Korean friends in Japan about this, but I believe any horrible action has not been taken against them. Based on this belief (and strong hope that I am right), I strongly call for cautious readings of these tweets. On the one hand, it shows that these shameless people are out there. On the other hand, this is not anything like the situation in the aftermath of Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923 when hundreds of Korean residents were accused of arson and lynched. The whole purpose of this webpage is to accuse xenophobia like this, and in a way it manifests a determination to avoid repeating the same mistake.
Mike at Marketing Japan is a fantastic source for updates of Japanese announcements translated into English as well. Thanks to Sheffner for the information.