Outspoken former TV newsreader and defense minister has a few criticisms of government’s response to the recent Tohoku Earthquake and nuclear disaster in her article on the broader effect on nuclear energy in East Asia:
In fact, the Kan administration – which loathes the involvement of bureaucrats, who are professionals, in managing public affairs – delayed notifying neighboring countries when it was forced to order the release of water containing low concentrations of radioactive material. For Kan, the real priority was his government’s effort to maintain its grip on power, not reassuring Japan’s neighbors of the actions it was taking to contain a potential threat to their citizens.
The first country to send a rescue team to Japan, however, was Taiwan (which also was the largest single provider of donations, amounting to ¥20 billion). But, owing to what Kan’s government called “confusion on the ground,” Taiwan’s rescue team was kept waiting for days. And, while the people of Japan were grateful for Taiwan’s unexpected generosity, the Japanese government failed to offer any thanks, despite running advertisements in major newspapers expressing gratitude for the relief sent from other countries. (Eventually, a public campaign raised the money to run an advertisement in a Taiwanese newspaper.)
Check out the full article at Project Syndicate for the broader context of these comments, but taken as they are, they are quite damning. Kan played politics with human security in Fukushima and even further afield and then forgot his Ps and Qs for Japan’s biggest provider of donors. Such comments, among the many disappointing revelations being made over his leadership in the wake of the disaster, make his stubborn hold on the Kantei even more regrettable.
A former contributor to World Intelligence (Japan Military Review), James Simpson joined Japan Security Watch in 2011, migrating with his blog Defending Japan. He has a Masters in Security Studies from Aberystwyth University and is currently living in Kawasaki, Japan.
His primary interests include the so-called 'normalization' of Japanese security (i.e. militarization), and the political impact of the abduction issue with North Korea.
James Simpson has 254 post(s) on Japan Security Watch