Maher says 'nobody' in Japan gov't was in charge early in nuclear crisis

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  • -3

    Yubaru

    Dude is in town to promote his own book and what he did after the disaster was only temporary, he's out of government again and a "private" person now.

  • 1

    sillygirl

    is there something wrong with that?

  • -6

    amerijap

    This man is a rat. It's still a fresh memory to Japanese that he got sacked from the director for an allegation that he badmouthed Okinawans on March 10, the day before the 9.0 earthquake hit the eastern Japan. He was not happy with the US Department of Secretary for barring him from holding/attending a press conference regarding the issue. Not surprised to see his move.

    Welcome to the Whistle-Blower's/Muckraker’s Club!

  • 2

    sillygirl

    maybe you should read a little more about what really happened. just google his name and see how the whole "whistle-blower" thing went down. maybe you might change your mind about those "students" and their teacher.

  • 6

    Asagao

    Everybody knows it's true and even the old lady at the bus stop and tell me nobody was in charge, so, why does this unemployed man get all the credit, like it is some amazing new revelation?

  • 8

    Aaron Okoro

    Actually he is not unemployed but I digress. This guy is one of the preeminent experts on Japan Period. By expert I mean he has more knowledge of the workings and uperworkings of Japanese government and society then the vast majority of Japanese people do. And the itimiate knowledge that he has helped in avoiding a post-catastrophe catastrophe. If the U.S government would have pulled its troops out of Japan. Every single country in the world would have quickly followed by pulling there citizens out, and would have wrecked absolute Irreversible havoc on Japan's future ability to actual recover from that terrible event and its aftermath.

  • 3

    smithinjapan

    The things that Maher said about Okinawans in general may have been uncalled for, but I think he's exactly right with this. It's a very common scenario where the government fobs something off to someone else (be it crisis or implementing laws), and I remember even a few days after the fact that Kan got upset because he didn't know what was going on. TEPCO, in turn, will say they were awaiting instructions from the government, and such is the way it is.

    Anyway, anyone who was here remembers Obama's threat to remove troops because no one could say what was going on, so how is this out of the question?

  • 4

    Elbuda Mexicano

    I am close to a few bases here in the Kanto plain, I can just imagine seeing helicopter after helicopter, C 130 after C 130, 747 jumbo jets etc... after another evacuating all the US troops from Yokusuka, Atsugi, Zama, Yokota etc..that would signal for the rest of us here in Tokyo to also get the hell out. So far, Roppongi is still full of horny young dudes from all of these bases so I guess we are still quite safe no matter what this guy Maher says.

  • 5

    Yubaru

    What Maher may or may not said really doesnt matter. He just happened to be the fall guy because everyone is tiptoeing around anything to do with Okinawa.

    Personally speaking if he really did say those things about the Okinawan politicians, he is just repeating what has been talked about both publicly and privately for years. He was right on the money.

    Except politicians in his position don't have the luxury of stating what they really feel without getting burned.

  • 10

    globalwatcher

    There was nobody in charge. Nobody in the Japanese political system was willing to say ‘I’m going to take responsibility and make decisions,’” said Maher, who coordinated U.S. help offered to help Tokyo deal with the crisis.

    This is an accurate observation by Maher. Good for him.

    President Obama ordered 14 fleet ships (The Tomodachi Operation) heading to Japan at 9 am next day to deal with the crisis before Kan ordered initial 50,000 J. Defence Forces to Tohoku on 3/13.

    Japan was in a vacuum for the first 2 days without a true leader.

    Later, Kan realized 50,000 Defence Force was not enough to fight the battle, so he decided to add another 50,000 J Defence Forces, then increasing the size of operation to 100,000 without thinking a means of transportation for them.

    US was successfully able to accomodate the need of Japan. So US went and picked up more helicopters from US Military bases in S. Korea for transporting them to Tohoku. This is just a tip of iceberg. I just want to let you know Japan was in a total vacuum for the first 2 days without a leader. I am sorry.

  • 1

    Yubaru

    Global there is nothing to be sorry for, other than of course the people who were suffering during the disaster.

    Although I do believe that Kan was overwhelmed by the scope of the problems he faced and did the best as he could, with the system here as it is.

  • 2

    my2sense

    The thought of Michael Keaton in the 1986 flick Gung Ho/Working Class Man came to mind... Anyway, I agree with this guy. I recall reading in the early 2000s the World Nuke committee was on top of TEPCO for falsifying reports and data, cutting corners... If you can't trust Mister Donut (scandal) who can you trust in Japan. The Japanese political system has been a mess for 60 years and I know USG has applied a few things under the radar to try and get some reform. Hate to say it but the US has been all over this, new plans for the bases and trying to get this slacker old boys club in gear. Corruption and no real leader doesn't fly anymore and it gets people killed. I think the Japanese political system is full of mommas boys and wimps. The rich stay in power here even when they catch em stealing (Ozawa). Japanese START voting! Damn lucky that quake didn't hit a few hundred miles south...this place would have fell apart from Sapporo to Fukuoka and crippled the world economy.

  • -1

    ExportExpert

    No Surprise here either, anyone who didnt realise or understand this must have either been asleep or not born yet.

    Off course there was nobody in charge, why would there have been, all these dickheads would have been standing round sucking their teeth going abunai, shogunai, taihen ne, doishio etc

  • 0

    gogogo

    You can blame this on Kan, there are several media accounts of Kan yelling at the president of Tepco to fix this despite his requests for help from the government.

  • -1

    herefornow

    “There was nobody in charge. Nobody in the Japanese political system was willing to say ‘I’m going to take responsibility and make decisions,’”

    Antbody who doubts this is just not willing to accept reality. And didn't observe the completely bumbling way Kan, Edano, etc. reacted to things. The world's third largest economy, and their leaders can't lead. Sad.

  • 4

    Ivan Coughanoffalot

    Nobody in the Japanese political system was willing to say ‘I’m going to take responsibility and make decisions,’

    Find me one person in the whole country who's prepared to take personal responsibility for anything, and be held accountable if it doesn't work out. These people are terrified of sticking their neck out.

  • 3

    tokyokawasaki

    Find me one person in the whole country who's prepared to take personal responsibility for anything, and be held accountable if it doesn't work out. These people are terrified of sticking their neck out.

    Exactly.

    This 'No balls' syndrome in rife throughout Japan and at almost every level of business & government.

  • 1

    GW

    Folks in my whole 20yrs here the closest anything came to being a leader was a hairdo in the 90s, other than that Japan has been perpetually without ANY LEADERSHIP what so ever

  • 1

    Sean Mcgee

    http://enenews.com/book-govt-considering-plan-evacuate-all-90000-citizens-living-tokyo-knew-fuel-melted-early-global-hawk-data/comment-page-1#comment-120669

    interesting comments thread on this link about maher

  • 1

    globalwatcher

    This 'No balls' syndrome in rife throughout Japan and at almost every level of business & government.

    A true leader is willing to take a big risk to do the right thing while managers are trying to do it right.

    Hope you see a big difference between these two.

  • 0

    tokyokawasaki

    Globalwatcher - A true leader is willing to take a big risk to do the right thing while managers are trying to do it right.

    And the above statement means what exactly?

  • 2

    warnerbro

    I think Maher's got it right this time. I'm glad his book's in Japanese.

  • 1

    globalwatcher

    @tokyokawasaki, Obama took a first initiative to move the 7th fleet swiftly to Japanese shore before Kan calling for JDF in action. Obama ordered to drop 250,000 tons of water, medication and food supply from air everyday. We did move as fast as we could to help these immediate victims. JDF could not move as many roads were all torn apart.

  • 1

    tokyokawasaki

    Globalwatcher - A true leader is willing to take a big risk to do the right thing while managers are trying to do it right. Hope you see a big difference between these two.

    A good leader has confidence and strength of conviction, which instills confidence in others. Based on my experience in Japan (11 years) most leaders and managers have little confidence and they are afraid of making a decision or taking responsibility. Until leaders and managers here passionately care more about progress than they do about fear of failure, we cannot expect any drastic change with the morons appointed to run the country and most businesses.

  • 1

    globalwatcher

    @tokyokawasaki, agree, and it is very unfortunate.

  • 1

    my2sense

    IvanCoughedacoolcomment.

  • 1

    ka_chan

    I don't think Japan had real leadership Tokugawa Ieyasu, not that I agree with most of the things he did. Some may say all the young turks of the Meiji rebellion/reforms. Today Japan rules by concensus which is ok most of the time but in a emergency, the people want someone in charge. I don't think they even know there was a problem for a few days. For a country that can be visited by so many natural disasters, seems there is no disaster planning. I can't imagine how much worse it would have been if the quake center was off the coast of Tokyo. Is there a backup government location? Is there a backup financial database? I really doubt it. Oh, it can't be by the sea or near a volcano... kinda limited.

  • 0

    goinggoinggone

    And yet anyone who voiced fear and concern was ridiculed in the early days of the crisis, and dismissed as hysterical. Called those who left Japan 'flyjin' and played down the seriousness of both the quake and the radiation.

    Now, months down the line everyone is pretending that they were skeptical and knew all along things were out of control.

  • 0

    smithinjapan

    ssway: " The governments could not control where the fallout would go so it was a complete risk."

    DON'T defend these guys! The government didn't even know radiation was leaking out of the plants until a week after the fact, more or less (TEPCO tried to hide it at first).

  • 0

    smithinjapan

    goinggoinggone: "Called those who left Japan 'flyjin' and played down the seriousness of both the quake and the radiation."

    People embarrassed by their own government and inability to get away themselves, and the same people who would leave another nation on the spot if the same thing happened elsewhere while they were there (not to mention EVERYONE cancelling their tours).

  • -2

    Heda_Madness

    I must have missed the bit where Tokyo was covered in radiation to justify the reaction of many of the Flyjin. There has still been nothing to suggest that people leaving Tokyo en masse was based on anyhthing scientific.

    Though I don't think that anyone downplayed the seriousness of the Earthquake.

  • 0

    globalwatcher

    TEPCO tried to hide it at first

    @smith, and they (TEPCO) are still tying to hide unfortunately.

  • 0

    billyshears

    What many will find unforgivable is that neither TEPCO nor the government appeared in any way prepared for this kind of foreseeable catastrophe (out-of-date nuclear reactors standing on the coast of a known tidal wave area). Even though it may not alleviate the situation, when people feel angry about others' negligence, they need some kind of closure by seeing those responsible punished.

  • 0

    goinggoinggone

    So you werent here for the unsafe for infant tapwater? The highly increased levels of radiation around the 15th and 16th? And the contamination of food, not to mention the constant aftershocks, Heda? Again, just another gajin playing it down to look tough and more Japanese than the Japanese themselves.

    The earthquake and the effects of it outside Tohoku were downplayed. It was a case of 'Japan is fine, everyone move on and look somewhere else'. Now it is hardly mentioned in the world news.

  • -3

    Heda_Madness

    So you werent here for the unsafe for infant tapwater?

    For one day. At a level which was substantially lower than the safe levels in the EU. And those levels are based on drinking contaminated water for 40 days.

    So yes, I was here. There was an increase in radiation but nowhere near the levels that people were portraying.

    And no, I'm not someone who's playing it down to look tough. I have some understanding of this subject having studied a bit about Chernobyl. And I've been consistent in my opinion of this throughout as anyone who knows me could tell you. I'm also a strong believer that a bit of radiation will not kill you. As should anyone who was alive in Western Europe in May 1986 or anyone who ate lamb from the UK's lake district before that.

    And the fact that the nuclear incident occupied the world news as opposed to the earthquake was a disgrace. I've been constsant about that as well.

  • 0

    nanotechnology

    One of Tokyo University Professor (Professor KODAMA) also announced similar frightening revelation, during his privilege speech in the Diet Assembly, that from the beginning the Japanese government was lying to the public and there was GROSS NEGLIGENCE on the part of the government:

    For those who can understand Japanese, one may watch this link below:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O9sTLQSZfwo

    --

    /* Multilingual subtitles are available on this version.*/

    Part1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dlf4gOvzxYc

    Part2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDlEOmcALwQ

  • 2

    johninnaha

    The Japanese education system is not designed to produce leaders.

    It's designed to produce yes men.

    And the government of Japan are the cream of the Japanese education crop. If you didn't graduate a name Japanese university you don't stand much of a chance of getting into politics.

    I wasn't there, but I would hazard a guess that Maher's comments are about right.

    At the time of the Kobe Earthquake, NHK announced that they had some breaking news. After an emergency meeting of several hours, the committee had finally agreed on what to call the earthquake. They hadn't given a thought to people trapped under rubble, homeless or dying, but they had reached agreement on a name for it.

    I'm pretty sure that it must have been the same thing in March.

    No one wanting to take any responsibility because they didn't want to shoulder the blame.

  • 0

    Badge213

    So what's news here?

  • -2

    Heda_Madness

    johninnaha, actually this Japanese governments response was far greater than there predecessors with regards to the initial response to the earthquake and tsunami. They immediately mobilized 100,000 SDF members and accepted help from the US on March 11. They also accepted support from other international teams.

    It's very difficult to criticize them for their initial response over the critical 72 hours. However, they've let themselves down since then.

    (NB I'm talking about the disaster response to the natural disasters and not the response to the nuclear incident)

  • 0

    globalwatcher

    They immediately mobilized 100,000 SDF members and accepted help from the US on March 11.

    Immediately?

    Obama was very swift and he was the first one to act before Kan did. Make no mistake about it. US has a great GPS Satellite system 24/7 assessing immediate or emergency situations to be ready.

  • -1

    Heda_Madness

    Yes, immediately.

    Make no mistake about it. US has a great GPS Satellite system 24/7 assessing immediate or emergency situations to be ready.

    Which begs the question why it took so long to react to Katrina? Which was a disaster that was forecast as opposed to one which appeared from nowhere.

  • 0

    globalwatcher

    Yes, immediately.

    Go back to the record.

    Which begs the question why it took so long to react to Katrina? Which was a disaster that was forecast as opposed to one which appeared from nowhere.

    Because some were ignorant and arrogant.

    • Moderator

      Readers, Katrina is not relevant to this discussion.

  • 2

    usedtobeanyr

    Heda -

    'immediately' Wonder what your definition is of that!

    Theh US Navy acted immediately! I received a call from my spouse, who was deployed, with information regarding this disaster days before the GOJ even decided to acknowlege it! You are sadly mistaken and Maher is completley on target!

  • 0

    usedtobeanyr

    Heda-

    You obviously know nothing regarding how the US gov't works in regards to Katrina. That debacle was about state's rights to handle situations on their own. They have to ask for federal assistance and Louisiana failed miserably.

    Back on topic, pretty much how the GOJ reacted and handled this situation, just like Maher states.

  • 0

    Heda_Madness

    Sorry, on March 13th they doubled their initial response (from 50,000) to 100,000. In Kobe it took four days to call in the SDF.

  • -1

    Heda_Madness

    *, with information regarding this disaster days before the GOJ even decided to acknowlege it*

    That is woefully incorrect. See my point above. There were 50,000 SDF mobilized, followed by 100,000.

    http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2011/03/12/Relief-aid-rushing-to-Japan-US-to-help/UPI-36071299949205/

  • 2

    Heda_Madness

    How do I get a negative rating for posting a fact, which has been verified with a news report of the time?

    **TOKYO, March 12 (UPI) -- Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan says he has ordered additional rescue forces sent into areas impacted by Friday's earthquake and resulting tsunami.

    Kan said he asked Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa to increase the number of Self-Defense Forces in the affected areas by up to 50,000, Kyodo News reported Saturday. About 50,000 SDF personnel are already in the area.

    Read more: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2011/03/12/Relief-aid-rushing-to-Japan-US-to-help/UPI-36071299949205/#ixzz1VSCt5fRT**

  • 1

    usedtobeanyr

    Keep your head in the sand Heda.

    GOJ didn't know what to do. No one was in charge, making decisions. Many decisions were made because of international pressure.

    No, I am not woefully incorrect. And you might not know as much as you wish to think. Maher is on target.

  • 0

    whiskeysour

    ohhhh well, it happens

  • 0

    globalwatcher

    that is woefully incorrect. See my point above. There were 50,000 SDF mobilized, followed by 100,000.

    a big mistake that was made by Kan. He could not assess the total damage done to Tohoku and Fukushima Daiichi.

    And, the FIRST action was made by Obama.

  • -1

    Heda_Madness

    As I said earlier, I'm not talking about the nuclear response.

    But there's no-one who is going to tell me that the response to the initial crisis was incorrect. 50,000 troops followed by 100,000 troops for a disaster that was on an unprecedented scale. And it's delusional to suggest otherwise.

  • -1

    Heda_Madness

    What was the mistake?

    So what you're saying is that Obama offered troops before the GOJ had done anything. Care to back it up with a link?

  • 1

    globalwatcher

    50,000 troops followed by 100,000 troops

    @Heda, When did Kan decide to do this? Please go back and check the record before making incorrect posting.

    Keep it mind US 7th fleet (14 ships, aircrafts including helicopters, 15,000 US troops ) were already at shore of Japan on 3/13. US is always SWIFT when it is necessary. No mistake about it.

  • 4

    nutsagain

    What's the beef here? Maher was 'right' about Okinawa and he's right about this. It seems to me some people reach a threshold in life where they can't take any more BS and want to tell it like it is for a change. Everyone even the Japanese themselves knows that the Japanese government is utterly hopeless except for 'talk'. Along comes a modern day Diogenes and tells it like it is for a change and that to me at least, is refreshing.

  • -1

    Heda_Madness

    Global Watcher, follow this link dated March 12.

    http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2011/03/12/Relief-aid-rushing-to-Japan-US-to-help/UPI-36071299949205/#ixzz1VSCt5fRT**

    THere were already 50,000 troops there on March 12 with an order for up to 50,000 more.

  • 0

    whiskeysour

    Let`s break it down for a moment:

    Kan didn`t know anything about the nuclear power plant because the private company kept the details in the dark

    Now new protocals are in place that the government will take over if one of the nuclear reactors have a meltdown again

    former diplomat Kevin Maher

    I understand what he was saying because Japanese people tend to be quiet and never step up, or never show initiative. I definitely know Kan`s emergency staff was quiet and decided to let the Private company handle the scenerio.

    That was the worst move ever for Kan, he should have called the company and said, " My team is taking over. " All the fukushima staff would be advising and not actually making decisions.

  • 0

    usedtobeanyr

    Heda -

    http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2011/03/12/Relief-aid-rushing-to-Japan-US-to-help/UPI-36071299949205/#ixzz1VSCt5fRT**

    Same article: The U.S. Navy's Seventh Fleet was to conduct joint search and rescue operations off the Pacific coast in northeastern Japan.

    7th Fleet is always ready!

    Already there, already working. Planning started the minute they were aware of the situation - I do know this for fact.

    From the article - “There was nobody in charge. Nobody in the Japanese political system was willing to say ‘I’m going to take responsibility and make decisions,’” said Maher, who coordinated U.S. help offered to help Tokyo deal with the crisis.

    “Nothing was taking place at Fukushima Daiichi in terms of the government solving the problem” until about a week later when Tokyo and Washington launched a joint task force, he said.

  • -1

    Heda_Madness

    But that's not what you said.

    You said I posted disinformation. Yet by the time that the 7th fleet was ordered to go there, there were already 50,000 troops on the ground with a further 50,000 on the way. You said Obama reacted before the Japanese. Someone else claimed the Americans responded 'days quicker' than the Japanese.

    Which is not true. The Japanese SDF and the Japanese government reacted as quickly as possible to this side of the disaster.

    All of which is true and none of it detracts from the response of the Americans or other international countries who helped.

  • 1

    presto345

    The Japanese SDF and the Japanese government reacted as quickly as possible to this side of the disaster.

    True. There will always be those saying things could have been organized better, quicker. Those who claim THEY would have done things better. There will be those who enjoy the attention they get. Those who always know better.

  • 0

    kurisupisu

    The point is who in this world can control 3 meltdowns -before,now and in the future?

    The readings coming out of the plants now are being kept quiet-the deaths of the people that are sure to be a result will not be such a secret........

  • 0

    Oracle

    If Japan had a "real leader", what would have been different? Would things be better? Fixed by now?

    Japan did not need one tough guy barking orders. Japan needed boatloads of people all doing the right thing. Leadership helps, but this thread reads like its some kind of miracle cure. I say its more like snake oil.

  • -2

    herefornow

    Japan did not need one tough guy barking orders. Japan needed boatloads of people all doing the right thing. Leadership helps, but this thread reads like its some kind of miracle cure. I say its more like snake oil

    .Oracle -- Nonsense. You have been in Japan too long if you equate leadership with "barking orders". Leradership is taking responsibility for organizing the "boatloads of people" to make sure they are organized and "doing the right thing" -- not running around like a chicken with your head cut off trying to show leadership while the situation spun out of control. And simply hoping that TEPCO and all the government agencies were doing the right thing, instead of knowing it first-hand. The only snake oil here is what you are trying to peddle. Kan failed miserably, just like Bush did with Katrina. Both simply made public gestures to show leadership while simply passing the buck to clearly incompetent bureaucrats.

  • -1

    Mark_Richards

    Maher, a total asshat, should join with John Bolton and start a school of diplomacy.

    Unfortunate he's no longer on a leash.

  • 0

    Fadamor

    @Heda_Madness,

    And the fact that the nuclear incident occupied the world news as opposed to the earthquake was a disgrace. I've been constsant about that as well.

    Then you've been "constsant"-ly in the wrong. Of COURSE the nuclear meltdowns are going to draw more attention in the world news than the earthquake/tsunami. The meltdown can affect radiation levels around the world, while the tsunami damage was localized to only Japan. So yes, even though the number of deaths resulting from March 11 were overwhelmingly caused by the tsunami, the reactors melting down are a bigger story to the international community BECAUSE IT CAN DIRECTLY AFFECT THEIR LIVES.

  • -1

    horrified

    Heda_Madness:

    actually this Japanese governments response was far greater than there predecessors with regards to the initial response to the earthquake and tsunami. They immediately mobilized 100,000 SDF members and accepted help from the US on March 11.

    Excuse me, but this article is not about the tsunami victims who went missing, but the nuclear disaster response. Maher is writing about that response, which he accurately describes as lacking.

    He is completely right in his assessment and it is not even debatable.

    Comments about government response to the tsunami and earthquake destruction is off-topic.

    • Moderator

      The moderators will decide what is off topic, not you.

  • 0

    Foxie

    Maher is right but they didn't know any better then because they didn't get the correct info from Tepco. But that was then and now the Japanese government is underestimating the effects of low dosage and/or internal exposures and not raising the evacuation level even to the same level adopted in Chernobyl .People's lives are at stake, especially the lives of children, and it is obvious that the government is not placing top priority on the people's lives in their measures.

  • 0

    Fadamor

    I saw an interesting article on why the Japanese Government wouldn't "bite the bullet" and extend the evacuation zone to the 80km that the U.S. recommended. Doing so would have meant the evacuation of the cities of Fukishima and Iwaki - resulting in over a million displaced people.

  • 0

    Heda_Madness

    20,000 died/are missing in the tsunami/earthquake. A far greater number than will die as a result of the nuear incident. The nuclear incident is, relatively speaking, a localised incident.

    You may think I've been constantly wrong whereas I would feel you show a distinct lack of knowledge on the subject.

    Or to put it another way:

    Known fatalities outside of Japan from the nuclear incident = none Known fatalities outside of Japan from the tsunami = one.

  • 0

    amerijap

    the US Department of Secretary

    Found something odd? --Yup, it's “the US Department of the State.” Got mixed it up with Clinton, my bad.

    I separate his accomplishments from what he said about people of Okinawa. I personally don’t have any problem with his new book release or the criticism of the Japanese government over the US military bases. But, the way he described Okinawans—as ‘’lazy,’’ “masterminds of extortion”-- out of his experiences in bi-lateral talks, in his keynote address at American University, is way off the line. It’s quite inappropriate, irresponsible, and irredeemable. He was out of touch. The incident could have been averted. The State Department and US Ambassador John Roos would never make an apology, if he was smart enough to avoid taking swipes at Okinawans.

  • 1

    Oracle

    herefornowAug. 19, 2011 - 09:41PM JST

    Leradership is taking responsibility for organizing the "boatloads of people" to make sure they are organized and "doing the right thing" -- not running around like a chicken with your head cut off trying to show leadership while the situation spun out of control.

    Oh, is that what happened? Was it running around like chickens without heads that caused the nuclear disaster or hampered the relief efforts?

    You know, if you are going to be as nasty as you were in your response, you could at least explain how a leader could have bettered the situation ie, answered the questions I asked. Seems to me the faillure was not one of leadership during the crisis, but of a bunch of people being careless before it. The only way to avoid that, if by a leader, would have been for that one leader to notice the flaw in the emergency pump powering plan, the flaw in the size of the tsunami barrier, and the flaw in the location and housing of the back-up generators. But its not a leader who finds that sort of thing. Its an engineer.

    But okay. Post disaster. Please tell me what groups were doing the wrong thing and what groups were running around like chickens without heads and how a leader would have fixed that without making further and worse errors. Really. Anything specific will do. If you don't have specifics, then you are just theorizing. Where was this disorganization you speak of? Since you brought up the PM, what could he have really done differently?

    All I can see is to quicker accept foreign aid, but hey, humans are stubborn lot, and refusing outside help is very common, "real" leaders or no.

    Leaders are over-rated. Often they actually make things worse.

  • 0

    Fadamor

    20,000 died/are missing in the tsunami/earthquake. A far greater number than will die as a result of the nuear incident. The nuclear incident is, relatively speaking, a localised incident.

    Not so. When comparing acreage affected by each incident, the radioactivity released by the Daiichi reactors affects a much larger area. The communities affected by the tsunami were devastated, to be sure, but ask the farmers well inland of the shore and well away from the Daiichi plant which incident has affected THEIR lives the most.

  • -1

    zippythewonderslug

    Hey I have a bold idea...how about we pull all of our military, support and money out of your country and give you Obama in return. That way you won't have a thing to complain about and Obama can go on to fix your problems like he has all the problems in the rest of the world. Yes Mr. Maher wrote a book and if you don't like what he said, tough sushi...suck it up and move on. Everyone expects honesty until it's something they don't want to hear...pathetic...just pathetic.

  • 1

    MASSWIPE

    "Maher, a total asshat, should join with John Bolton and start a school of diplomacy."

    Mark_Richards: Sometimes even a "total asshat" can be right, or do you think that is not possible? I will say that the general hostility of the US towards the DPJ government, stemming from former PM Hatoyama's insistence on reopening negotiations about relocating the US marine base at Futenma, makes this remark by Maher suspect, even if he is correct.

  • -1

    herefornow

    Leaders are over-rated. Often they actually make things worse

    Oracle -- please. What a silly comment. I guess the U.S. would have been better off without FDR or England without Churchill, right? Or how about South Africa without Mandela? Or in the private sector, I guess Steve Jobs has done nothing for Apple? Stop judging leadership by what you see in Japan. Because it does not resemble real leadership in any way, shape or form.

  • -1

    Heda_Madness

    It's a relatively localised issue because it's only affecting Japan not the international community (that you claimed in your first post). This isn't like Chernobyl which affected most of Western Europe and anyone with a basic understanding of science would tell you that. The tsunami affected Japan. the nuclear incident affected Japan. And the international media focussed on the nuclear side of things because it's scarier therefore increases ratings/sales.

  • 0

    CHAMADE

    There was nobody in charge

    So...like right after 9/11? Or Katrina? Or...Vietnam? Iraq??

    Who are Americans to presume they know anything about emergency management?

  • 0

    Oracle

    herefornowAug. 20, 2011 - 09:30AM JST

    Oracle -- please. What a silly comment.

    Could you prove it by answer the questions I asked you rather than dodge them and be insulting? Thanks.

    • Moderator

      All readers, please keep the discussion civil.

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