They are nowhere near the majority ( who eat any food and go anywhere without a single worry about radiation contamination), probably not even 10% of the population. But thanks to the net and particularly the social media like Twitter, the Japanese people now have a direct tool to observe how the officialdom works, firsthand.
The most recent case in point happened yesterday, over the so-called "public hearing" held by the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency under the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. The public hearing was about the approval of the result of the so-called stress test of one of the nuclear power plants operated by Kansai Electric Power Company (Ooi Nuclear Power Plant in Fukui Prefecture, in the so-called "Nuclear Ginza").
NISA and the Ministry clearly thought it was conducting a routine "public hearing" where the experts would rubber-stamp the conclusion already reached by the Agency which is staffed with employees from companies in the nuclear industry on temporary assignments and where the public, if any were there, were supposed to sit there quietly to observe the proceedings. Yesterday, NISA was to ascertain the safety of the Ooi Nuke Plant, paving the way for the re-start, and was expecting a smooth sailing. It did ascertain, but it was decidedly not a smooth sailing.
The citizens who went to the public hearing didn't want to just sit and listen, and sensing trouble the NISA quickly moved to close off the meeting, telling the citizens to watch the proceedings on a monitor in a separate room. When the citizens said no, and didn't obey NISA's order to stay in the separate room and entered the conference room, the Agency called in the police.
Then the order apparently quickly went to the media to report the incident as it was happening and paint the protesters as lawless and rude. Here's one typical report by Nippon Television News (1/18/2012); just about every sentence is incorrect:
An anti-nuclear group has forced its way into a meeting held at the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency under METI, and the police has been called in.
The NISA was expected on January 18 to discuss the appropriateness of the stress test that would be used to determine whether to re-start the Reactors 3 and 4 at Ooi Nuclear Power Plant (Ooi, Fukui Prefecture) and to declare it would be "appropriate" to re-start the plant. However, the citizens' groups who were against nuclear power plants barged in to the conference room from the separate room set aside for the public [to monitor the proceedings] and disrupted the proceedings, so the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry called the police.
According to the police, the citizens' groups are doing the sit-in inside the building.
The reality was:
It was not an organized "group" of anti-nuke protesters but a bunch of citizens, including people from Fukushima Prefecture who were exercising their right as citizens to participate in a "public hearing";
They lined up and obtained the tickets to participate in the hearing;
The meeting was open to public, but the NISA decided to move the public to a separate location to avoid interruption;
They didn't barge in violently as portrayed by the MSM, didn't interrupt the proceedings, but they were asking questions as concerned citizens.
And how do we know that? Because an independent media (IWJ) was net-casting the whole thing live, and people were tweeting, watching the netcast live.
Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Yukio Edano, whose refrain as the chief cabinet secretary was "There is no immediate effect from radiation" (he now says he only meant for a couple of days or weeks at most), called the citizen's behavior "unacceptable" and said that "some of the commissioners are being forced to remain in the room". How dare the lowly citizens interrupt the government scientific proceedings beyond their comprehension?
Two commissioners left the meeting in protest when the NISA did hold the meeting 4 hours later in a separate room shutting out the citizens entirely.
As Sankei Shinbun (1/18/2011) reports:
Two commissioners on the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency's expert panel to assess the stress test conducted on Ooi Nuclear Power Plant operated by Kansai Electric Power Company left the meeting in protest. Hiromitsu Ino, professor emeritus at Tokyo University and another commissioner protested against the NISA's decision to hold the meeting without the public attending.
Ino emphatically said, "The reason for NISA not to allow the public to attend the meeting was supposedly some irregular remarks [from the public] in the previous meeting. But that only delayed the proceedings by a few minutes. It is absurd to exclude the public for such a flimsy reason."
Commissioner Masashi Goto, a former nuclear power plant engineer, said "You get heckled in the Diet. If NISA cannot tolerate such a minor thing, the agency will further lose credibility. I cannot participate in a meeting behind closed doors where the public is shut out."
Ino also criticized the decision by NISA that the stress test for Ooi Nuke Plant was appropriate. "They say it was a comprehensible safety evaluation, when in reality only a small portion was evaluated."
Professor Ino is the one who said the other day that a Containment Vessel at Fukushima II (Daini) Nuclear Power Plant was broken from the March 11 earthquake.
Some on Twitter are still incredulous that the police was on the government's side, not on the citizens' side. Other long-held beliefs in a trust-based society that have been shattered, at least for a portion of the population, since March 11, 2011 include:
The government of all levels, from national to municipal to an unofficial unit of "self-governing" neighborhood association, exist to protect citizens;
The government officials don't lie, for the most part;
Producers and distributors are honest, caring about the safety and quality of the products that they produce and sell;
Food in Japan is safe, and the government will make sure it remains that way;
The police is there to protect citizens;
Public hearing means the public get to voice their opinions;
They can trust the experts because they are from prominent academic institutions in the country;
They can trust the politicians because they are from prominent academic institutions in the country;
They can trust school teachers because they are from prominent academic institutions in the country;
If it is reported in the mass media, it must be true;
Nuclear power plants are safe.
and on and on and on...
The list is endless and still growing. Too bad it took one of the worst nuclear accidents in history for the citizens to realize they've been had.