It’s generally assumed that highly developed Japan would handle a catastrophic accident far more competently than callous, hierarchical, and class-polarised societies with a poor infrastructure and safety culture like India or Bangladesh. Japan was also expected to do better than backward Ukraine, which suffered the world’s previous nuclear core meltdown at Chernobyl in 1986 — especially as regards large-scale evacuation given Japan’s experience with earthquakes and tsunamis.
Alas, Japan has abjectly failed to provide relief to those affected by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident. Needless to say, India or Bangladesh would have done infinitely worse.
The mainstream media played a pernicious role in the cover-up, led by its dependence on Japan’s power-supply industry, its biggest advertiser. Tepco’s advertising budget alone is roughly half what a global corporation like Toyota spends annually.
People’s radiation exposure hasn’t been systematically estimated or monitored by the government or plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco).
Had the authorities followed the Chernobyl norm for triggering evacuation (5 mSv), they would have had to evacuate five times more people and impose restrictions on food grown in an area 30 times the size of Fukushima’s evacuation zone.
Japan’s public health response was thus worse than poor Ukraine’s despite its greater technological sophistication and financial capacity.
Source: Prafui Bidwai – The Daily Star
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