The ongoing Fukushima crisis and the psychological war in Tokyo
Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
The ongoing nuclear crisis at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is creating a hefty weight and this applies to the psychological impact. It still remains to be seen what the long-term consequences will be but the psychological impact is impinging on many parts of Japan.
It is abundantly clear that more than 20,000 people have been killed by the 9.0-magnitude earthquake which unleashed a potent and deadly tsunami. Therefore, while the tsunami was the “real killer” in Iwate, Miyagi and others prefectures hit by the tsunami. It is apparent that for many people in Tokyo and other prefectures which escaped the deadly tsunami, that the “psychological war” is radiation.
It may seem absurd to some people that many Tokyoites, and people from other prefectures including Kanagawa and Saitama, are so scared by the possibility of radiation entering the environment.
However, it is clear that the ongoing crisis at the nuclear stricken plant in Fukushima is generating many problems, even if these problems are not realistic or based on factuality. This is because of the mass uncertainty surrounding radiation and how it can impact on people and their health.
Therefore, even miniscule readings in Tokyo, Chiba, Kanagawa, and Saitama, are setting off alarm bells and this applies to some Japanese nationals leaving for a small break; foreign embassies closing and relocating to other parts of Japan; an increase of foreign nationals leaving Tokyo and the surrounding region; a huge reduction of tourists who were going to visit Tokyo; a scramble for bottled water because of a minor radiation reading which was not deemed dangerous and a host of other factors.
It is also true that other Tokyoites are not worried and many people are just trying to focus on the lighter side of life or focusing on bread and butter issues.
However, the impact of possible radiation and the never ending saga at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi plant is creating unforeseen problems and this applies to companies relocating, a huge reduction of tourists visiting Tokyo and other factors which are hindering the economy.
I am sure that people in Iwate, Fukushima, and Miyagi, must be wondering about “how surreal events are in Tokyo” compared with the huge loss of life which was unleashed on so many towns and villages along the coast.
Also, for people in Fukushima within or near the exclusion zone, it is obvious that the impact is a million times more severe for them and clearly Tokyoites have escaped the real ravages of the earthquake, tsunami, and radiation leaks from the stricken nuclear plant.
Yet just like the huge reduction of tourists who are refusing to visit Tokyo it is all about the psychological damage and irrespective of what government ministers are saying; it is obvious that people are divided about the real impact of the radiation crisis in Fukushima.
Therefore, while some people are hoarding bottled water and other essential products in Tokyo it is also abundantly clear that many people are not.
On March 25 the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency stated that high level radiation was detected in the reactor’s turbine of the No. 3 reactor. The main spokesman, Hidehiko Nishiyama, did reassure people that currently it appears that no cracks or damage to the reactor vessel appears to have happened.
According to Nishiyama the high level radiation which led to workers being contaminated was because of overheating fuel rods which are believed to have melted partially. Nishiyama also made it clear that further verification is needed before concrete conclusions can be given to why workers were exposed to very dangerous levels of radiation.
Prime Minister Naoto Kan stated that “The current situation is still very unpredictable. We’re working to stop the situation from worsening. We need to continue to be extremely vigilant.”
Therefore, while police officers and the Japanese military are looking for dead bodies in Fukushima, Iwate, Miyagi, and other coastal regions where the earthquake and tsunami struck; the psychological war continues in Tokyo and neighboring prefectures.
Many people will be relaxing with friends this weekend in Tokyo but others will be hoarding bottled water. The surreal nature of everything at the moment is beyond understanding and fashion shows and exhibitions will continue to be held across Tokyo.
In Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima, the smell of death is factual and so many have been killed and thousands of families and many communities have been torn apart.
The deadly tsunami killed more than 20,000 people but not one person appears to have died from radiation. However, the huge reduction of tourists and people leaving Tokyo is not because they fear a tsunami but it is because of the psychological war which exists within many people.
Therefore, while real tragedy storks northeastern Japan and the impact of radiation is strong in Fukushima; the soft underbelly of Tokyo and people in distant lands is factual and until the nuclear crisis is resolved then little can be done to end the psychological war within many people.
I and millions of others fear little in Tokyo but for millions of others it is different; however, when all is said, it is clear that Tokyoites are lucky to escape the ravages of March 11 and the real menace of radiation which is infringing on the people of Fukushima.
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