Tuesday, March 22, 2011

My Thoughts on US Reports

Today is Tuesday. We haven’t had power outage since Saturday. Thank goodness.

So far, the Japanese news I’ve been reading are quite detailed, not as vague as some U.S. news reported. But it takes time reading because I have to think and reread. I’ve learned quite a lot on nuclea power plants and radiation so far. I only read a few American reports on the web, and compared to the Japanese reports. Those few reports looked sensational and pessimistic. Also, I see here and there wrong information. For instance, Ibaragi is not the northeast. Ibaragi is a part of Kanto plain. That was on the Huffington Post. You might say it’s a big deal, but I don’t feel like reading news with fundamentally wrong information. I also see a mix-up or unclear terminology, or vague or confusing names describing the inside parts of reactors. Japanese newspapers show very clear view of the reactor’s entire picture. I was confused with those terms looking at the picture in U.S. reports. They make a big difference.

We had an earthquake in Kumamoto, Japan, yesterday. Today, I felt about magnitude 5 three times although in my area, it was diminished to be 3. As I write this, all the lamps are swaying. I just wish at the end of all these shaking for a whole month, a new island like Okinawa will appear off Yokohama. I think we deserve it.

So, I decided to go to the Yokohama central library and read American news papers. There, I found the NY Times and the Washington Post of March 16th and 17th. The library used to carry the Los Angeles Times, but disappeared a year or two ago because of their increasing budget cuts. I had protested it, but I’m not a VIP. I’m just a blogger. Below are my comments to some of the articles I have read.

NY Times March 17, 2011

Page 1. “More Dire Appraisal of Crisis Creates Split With Japan”

About Jaczko’s most startling assertion that there was now little or no water in the pool storing spent nuclear fuel at the No. 4 reactor…

With my sympathy, I wrote this comment. I don’t know Jaczko’s exact conversation with a Tepco official, but I thought about a discrepancy in language. If I’m speaking with my Japanese colleagues or boss for the similar subject, I could say about the water in the pool, “kara ninatteiru” or “naku natteiru.” Kara means empty, and “nai” means gone. Those phrases can be translated as “it became empty” or “it is gone.” Because I’m Japanese, speaking to Japanese persons in a similar situation even if the Japanese person is speaking in English, I will comprehend what the person said to me with a bigger margin. Of course, I wish the person would communicate more detail without my further inquiries, but in Japanese communication, both of us have bigger margin in understanding. But, not just in Japanese, but in any communication, we always have to be smarter than others if we want to accomplish our task. Don’t you agree? So, if the target person seems not giving an information we require, we need to ask more creative questions while being aware that no one can see inside the pool with our naked eyes.

Article: “In Tokyo, a Dearth of Candor…”

In a press conference, Mr. Edano said that a steam is rising from No.3 reactor, so radiation is spiked, and all staff members moved to a safe place.

I don’t think he said “temporarily,” but I understood what he said. It wasn’t vague. It was clear. On this issue, NY times reported that what he said confused foreign reporters, and Al Jazeera made panicky headlines. I’m amazed with this report. How in a world, those reporters assumed the workers abandoned this gravely important job. I wish a foreign reporter with such negative assumption should have immediately asked him, “I don’t mean to insult your country’s integrity, but have you just said your staff members just abandoned their work?” Reporters are brave animals. I hope they ask such questions.

The Washinton Post March 17th, 2011

Article: U.S. government offers to evacuate Americans from 3 cities in Japan

I find the ending paragraph a bit disturbing. It said, “Yukio Edano, the government’s top spokesman said Thursday that it was understandable the U.S. government might take a “more conservative approach in protecting the lives of its nationals,” because the U.S. is not directly charge of bringing the nuclea plant under control.” I was listening to this press conference, and I didn’t hear the following, “because the U.S. is not directly charge of bringing the nuclea plant under control.” He didn’t say that. Edano said it is understandable, and he would do the same if he were in the President’s situation. He spoke with much consideration to President Obama. He repeated this. Do you feel what I do?

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