After the huge earthquake loads of foreigners are leaving Japan. Encouraged into panic mode by their respective governments telling them to leave because of the dangers of radiation poisoning.
When you have the American Surgeon General Regina Benjamin stating that is appropriate and not an overreaction to get hold of iodide tablets (she has now backtracked on that statement), and the Chief Scientist in the UK saying his concerned about the safety of the nuclear reactors, and the French embassy telling their citizens that the dangers from nuclear radiation is so high that they must leave the country NOW, it’s not surprising that everyone is panicking. Especially when countries are arranging free flights home. Flights which the airlines are saying will be checked on landing “as a precaution” by detectors which are regularly set off by bananas.
All this is doing the opposite of calming people down. Many are thinking that they will now get cancer because of the problems at the nuclear reactors. When you have people over 8,000km away from Japan panicking about nuclear radiation then you have failed to inform and educate the population into the reality of the situation. The demand for 24/7 news doesn’t help either when the newscasters are commenting on any and every single point and blowing it out of all proportion. Even as a libertarian you get the emotional feeling that 24/7 news should be banned it is so excessive.
The reality is that there is no increase in risk of getting any disease from the problems in Japan. And that includes people in Tokyo too. Tokyo being over 300km away from the nuclear power stations near Sendai and not even in the path of the prevailing wind.
Yes the radiation levels have increased five times or even 20 times above normal levels in Tokyo but this doesn’t mean anything. Five times a minuscule amount is still a minuscule amount. The minuscule amounts being a maximum of 0.8micosievert/hour which even if spread over a year is around 4000microsieverts which compares with an average level of 2 to 5millisieverts from natural levels.
Now the surprising bit.
I’m all for anyone who can leave to do so. But not because they should leave for their own safety. But for the safety and security of the Japanese who don’t have the luxury of being able to escape. The more people leave the more is left for those left behind. With limited fuel, food, and cover what is left should be given to those who don’t have an option of leaving.
This is a country which has just been hit by one of the biggest earthquakes known and has survived. A minor nuclear reactor issue is nothing to the problems the country is having to cope with. For more reasoned commenting without any histrionics about the situation in Japan have a read of www.japanprobe.com.
* Taijou is Japanese for exit, leaving.