Japan: The mass media “won’t ask the sharp questions.”

The latest e-mail dispatch from Alan G., my friend in Tokyo who’s lived in Japan for most of his life:

The real question everyone has, both locally and here in Tokyo, is, just how much radiation has been released? And they won’t tell us. A power company  spokesman’s rambling, obfuscating press conference this morning was a case in point. It’s appalling how little info is forthcoming from the government or the power company, but worst of all is the callowness of the mass media, which won’t ask them the sharp questions. No info at all on just how high the radiation levels are in the immediate vicinity let alone here in Tokyo. We may be nuked already and not even know it. Of course, if would be impossible to evacuate Tokyo anyway. And since you can’t see or feel radiation, the authorities no doubt think it’s better to obfuscate till the worst is over and what people don’t know won’t hurt them — till much later when they’re out of office…

The only bright light is that there are concerned people here, including renegade veteran nuke designers and engineers, now speaking up against the power plant’s woefully inadequate procedures and construction specs. An anti-nuclear research group held a press conference yesterday which you can see here. Hopefully they’ll do it on a daily basis. Despite the rather technical ramblings of the experts, it was a breath of fresh air, even though the news was bad, i.e. that even if the reactor itself didn’t rupture, that burst of smoke when the roof blew off no doubt sent plenty of radioactive substances into the atmosphere already.

I hope if nothing else, that it sets the nuke juggernaut back on its heels, again…

Meanwhile the TV stations just keep recycling footage of tsunami-inundated towns. Much like the 9/11 coverage. Sadly, the coverage from outside Japan — US media, BBC — that I’ve seen — seems just as unreliably sensational in the opposite direction re: the nuke. For example, there was my sister’s belief that the reactor itself had exploded. Someone else wrote me that they’d heard Tokyo was being evacuated. Good luck with that.

But today is a lovely, sunny, spring-y day, too nice to spend indoors, even if it means getting microwaved outside!

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