Brookings Intitute's nonresident fellow and former Washington Post writer Mr. Paul Blustein derides the Japanese for their irrational fear of radiation and joins Cyndi Lauper in scolding the Japanese for refusing to accept and burn the disaster debris in their neighborhood.
In the article commemorating the one-year anniversary of the disaster, the resident of Kamakura City writes in Washington Post (emphasis is mine),
... That spirit has faded, however, as divisions have erupted over nuclear power. The national discussion of the country’s reliance on atomic energy has degenerated into farce as many people have become increasingly — and irrationally — preoccupied with how radiation from the crippled Fukushima Daiichipower plant might affect them. Large segments of the population are so petrified, and so militant in their fear, that most local governments outside Tohoku are refusing to accept for burial some of the millions of tons of rubble left by the tsunami. (And I’m talking about the remnants of smashed buildings and vehicles in other prefectures, not junk from the nuclear plant’s vicinity.)
In a town near where I live, officials rejected the debris, saying that even if the radiation emissions were zero, local farmers and fishermen might suffer from huu hyou higai — financial losses due to baseless rumors — just as many Tohoku producers are already. So much for kizuna.
So much indeed. Most Japanese hate that word now. He doesn't seem to realize that people he criticizes as "irrational" know fully well that the remnants of smashed buildings and vehicles are not from the nuclear power plant but earthquake and tsunami debris in Miyagi and Iwate, and that as the debris lied along the coast of Miyagi and Iwate the nuclear power plant had several explosions that spewed out a large amount of radioactive materials that deposited on top of the debris. For most of the country outside southern Tohoku and Kanto, the radiation levels of the debris are much higher than their background.
He probably doesn't know (or care) that these debris may be contaminated with chemicals and oil, soaked in seawater, and that the municipal incinerators for household garbage may not be equipped to handle such debris. Or the fact that the debris with 100 becquerels/kg of cesium will result in ashes with 3300 becquerels/kg of cesium, which have to be buried in the disposal sites which often are located near the water source or the agricultural land with inadequate facilities to trap and clean the radioactive runoff.
He doesn't seem to listen to the heads of the municipalities in the disaster-affected Miyagi and Iwate who do not want the debris to be shipped outside their cities and towns.
Details too minor, I suppose.
Then he goes on to scold the citizens for not trusting their government and experts:
The hysteria about radiation reflects a breakdown in trust, as witnessed by endless media accounts quoting people who doubt the government’s monitoring of food and soil. This is lamentable; although officials disingenuously played down the possibility of a much worse accident at Fukushima Daiichi in the first days after the quake, reputable experts affirm the government’s major claim: that health risks are minuscule except in areas very close to the plant.
You can read the entire article at the Brookings site, here.