This is not a news update but a commentary.

In the early days following the earthquake and as the Fukushima crisis was evolving and information was still hard to come by, many foreigners fled Japan. Many also stayed, and some of them have berated the ones who left. Recently, some Japanese have been chiming in, too, although generally Japanese are more forgiving in such matters, as this mild yet damning blog post reveals:

That the foreigners fled instantly, before any consultations or warnings from the government, show us that they don’t care about the group so they do not intend to be a part of Japanese society…  That’s okay. Hence, all the people I talked to were of the opinion that foreigners are just that; We can’t expect them to be responsible to anyone except themselves. Most of them certainly do not understand what the responsibility to us (Japanese) means.” (See here for more details.)

In today’s Japan Times is an article by a man who did leave Japan but rather against his will, and not because of his fears for his personal safety. I strongly relate to this, as I also got similar daily phone calls from my parents in Europe.

The truth is, I had no intention of leaving Tokyo on March 18 for a long weekend in Osaka, where I observed the crisis from a safe distance, a reluctant “fly-jin” (apparently what they call us) taking advantage of a distant perch. In my layman’s judgment, at 225 km from the Fukushima No. 1 plant, Tokyo was far enough away from the unfolding nuclear disaster for me to feel secure. But it was the seven or so phone calls I received the day before from my parents — who nearly broke down in disbelief that I would be risking my life for my job and my adopted country — that made me reconsider.

“That’s not your home, Darek. Your home is here,” my mother said, on the verge of tears. “My hair is turning gray.”

“Why?” I asked, naively. “From old age?”

“No, because I am worried about you.”

Well, that did it. I was out of there.