This is probably more of a thing for the forum but thought I would make it a post to grab more attention. Just wanted to make a few points.
1. Japan Government Not Honest
– I made the point in the forum a while back that the Japanese Government was not being very honest with their citizens concerning the radiation. Well it seems like the NYT has agreed with me.
If you follow Japanese politics then you know it has been a mess ever since Koizumi left office. He was popular, a reformer and was actually able to accomplish a few things. After he left, there has been a steady succession of leaders, one falling after the other.
Reading the news articles, you will often see that Japan is “consensus” driven. I’d like to add a bit of clarity on this.
In the Japanese culture you are not really an individual but part of a group. Looking from the perspective of a foreigner, I would say that an appropriate description would be our saying “Walking on egg shells.” You have to constantly be aware of what everyone else is thinking and NEVER express your true opinion should it cause “disharmony.”
You might wonder where this comes from. Well, from my studies I believe it comes from the fact that they have very little arable land. Therefore, throughout their history many people had to cram into relatively small spaces and in order to avoid conflict their culture became one where “harmony” was most important.
That is why you are not seeing riots, looting and so on. If this disaster had happened in any other country all hell would have broken loose. But the Japanese are different.
When I point out how different they are, the reason usually given is that Japan is an island country. There were no invaders, outside influences and so their culture is very unique.
However, people are starting to get a bit upset with the government and saying so.
I was surprised to hear not only my mother-in-law but also my wife complain upon watching the news. The reporter stated that “no immediate effects of radiation would occur.” Then, there was no follow up, no questions and they went on to the next topic.
This fact was not lost on my wife and she said “Well what about 15, or 30 years later?” Seems like a reasonable question. But as for the media, no, they are trained to not cause any disharmony so they just skipped right over the difficult questions.
People are starting to question, but it is just that, a question. No real upheaval, formal inquiries or anything like that. I wonder if, as time goes by, this will cause the Japanese people to start questioning a bit more. Will there be a shift where they no longer just accept the word of authorities and speak out a bit more. If I had to guess, I would say that it is a slim chance but a chance none the less.
2. Internet Support (Facebook Especially)
Let me start by saying that any help, in any form is positive and encouraged.
But I couldn’t help noticing that in France the rallying call was “Help Japan,” whereas in America it was “Pray for Japan.”
I “liked” the Pray for Japan page but quickly became uneasy when after 6 days they had only raised $50. Someone commented “I hope that is a typo,” and the response was “No, but every little bit helps.”
Yes, every little bit helps but it got me paying attention to this page and where they were going.
Then I noticed that they started posting things such as “How has prayer affected your life” and posting Christian music. Then the comments were overwhelmingly like the following:
Prayer gives the peace, which is over the world understanding. Jesus told in Bible that we should not fear anything, because He prays for us in Heaven!
If you belive In One God and to His son Jesus, you shall be free from all that is devastating, lie, hurt, sickness, your sins and you shall be given all Heavens blessings!
God loves you JAPAN with and everlasting love. He will move on your heart’s cry. Our Father is near to you , He is a beath away…unto you is born this day in the city of David a savior…
Well, I had to “unlike” that page and did so pretty quickly. It seems to me that some Christian group has pulled the old bait and switch with their main purpose being to recruit people to the Christian faith. This seems very underhanded and wrong to me given the fact that Japan is principally a Buddhist country with very few Christians.
I’m still watching this page and hope they intend to do some real good but for now it seems to simply be an evangelical group using the tragedy for their own purposes.
This post may not be a very popular one, but I felt I should point this out regardless.