Now that all eyes are on Japan’s new “leader” and his fellow “leaders”, and expecting great things from them, namely the swift cleaning up of all radiation contamination, reconstruction of the tsunami/earthquake devastated areas, putting the Japanese economy back on the path to growth, lowering the strong yen, and generally leading the Japanese into the land of milk and honey, it is perhaps a good time to reflect on the track record of government officials in the area of truth-telling. Hmm, the track record does not appear to be good.

First, from economic analyst Mish, comes the following:
Can Government Lies Calm the Markets?:

The question of the day (for which everyone should know the answer) is Can Government Lies Calm the Markets?

In spite of the fact most of us realize lies will not help, and most often makes matters worse, governments repeatedly resort to lies, platitudes, and wishful thinking.

Jean-Claude Juncker, Luxembourg PM and Head Euro-Zone Finance Minister admitted as such in his statement “When it becomes serious, you have to lie”

Things are clearly serious, so everyone should expect lies, and lies we have in spades.

MarketWatch reports G-7 seeks to calm market fears on Europe, banks

via Mish’s Global Economic Trend Analysis.

Item B is a reminder of what happened many years ago to the Daigo Fukuryuu Maru (mouse-tip to EX-SKF):

Daigo Fukuryū Maru (第五福竜丸?, Lucky Dragon 5) was a Japanese tuna fishing boat, which was exposed to and contaminated by nuclear fallout from the United States’ Castle Bravo thermonuclear device test on Bikini Atoll, on 1 March 1954.

Aikichi Kuboyama, the boat’s chief radioman, died less than seven months later, on 23 September 1954, suffering from acute radiation syndrome. He is considered the first victim of the hydrogen bomb of Operation Castle Bravo.

The fallout, fine white flaky dust of calcined coral with absorbed highly radioactive fission products, fell on the ship for three hours. The fishermen scooped it into bags with their bare hands…

The US government refused to disclose its composition due to “national security”, as the isotopic ratios, namely percentage of uranium-237, could reveal the nature of the bomb. Lewis Strauss, the head of the AEC, issued a series of denials; he went so far to claim the lesions on the fishermen bodies were not caused by radiation but by chemical action of the calcined coral, that they were inside the danger zone (while they were 40 miles away), and told Eisenhower’s press secretary that Lucky Dragon was a “Red spy outfit”, commanded by a Soviet agent intentionally exposing the ship’s crew and catch to embarrass the USA and gain intelligence on the test. He also denied the extent of contamination of the fish caught by Fukuryu Maru and other ships. The FDA however imposed rigid restrictions on tuna imports.The United States dispatched two medical scientists to Japan to limit the public disclosure and study the effects of fallout on the ships crew, under the pretense of helping with their treatment.Even publications of the fallout analysis were a thorny political issue.

The track record is not good, but hey! Perhaps this time around, things will be different. Or, perhaps not.