I have mixed feelings about this news. On the one hand, it shows an increasing distrust of central government, and a slightly (but not equivalently) increasing self-reliance and personal initiative.And the ruling class, in whatever culture, are always aghast at the idea of “ordinary” citizens taking matters into their own hands. They don’t want this. They want people to do as they are told.
In a recent NHK TV program to discuss the Fukushima nuclear disaster, someone mentioned that some information about release of radioactivity has been censored on the grounds that it is important not to create panic; the commenter asked, what if panic was exactly the response that was required by the facts?
On the other hand, in this situation, experts are surely required.
Japan is an Asian country which is run by the bureaucratic class, rather like the mandarins have run China for the past several aeons. While a free-thinking, democracy-loving Westerner may condemn this, the fact is that clear thinking, expert knowledge, and the ability to manage people are not skills that everyone is blessed with. Some decisions, perhaps, are best left in the hands of knowledgeable and able people.
Of course, that group does not include politicians.
More than three months after a massive earthquake and tsunami triggered a nuclear meltdown at a nearby power plant, Fukushima residents are scrambling to cope with contamination on their own in the absence of a long-term plan from the government.
As increasingly panicked residents take matters into their own hands, experts warn that their do-it-yourself efforts to reduce contamination risk making matters worse by allowing radiation to spread without monitoring and by creating hotspots of high radioactivity where soil is piled high.
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