Will Japanese Government Lose The People ?
One of the side aspects to the crisis in Japan has been the very orderly reaction of the public to the crisis, a reaction which (had it occurred somewhere else) we might have even termed ‘Japanese’ in nature. Japan has long been a society of conformity and the people have maintained a faith in the truth and honesty of the government that hasn’t been seen in the US for decades (if not longer).
But it may be that there are cracks emerging in that wall of trust. When the government says that on the one hand everything is just fine at the plant but on the other hand if you want to seal yourselves inside your homes and try not to breathe the air from outside it would be a good idea even the ever faithful citizenry might just start to ask some questions.
This suspicion could be amplified by the fact that there has been a history of the government covering up problems at nuclear plants, including reports that they edited a videotape in a previous accident to make it look less serious
Many of us have heard the interview of a Japanese citizen who said ‘the government told me everything was fine so I believed them’ with a child like wonder that Mom and Dad might actually not be perfect after all.
To be fair to the government it is true that the media has massively overhyped the dangers from the nuclear plants but there is a difference between trying to calm down a jittery public and deliberately concealing information or understating the truth. You get the mental image of a government official saying everything is fine while fires rage right behind him.
Time will tell if this disaster will mark a significant change in how the people view their government but if it does cause the people to ask questions when they should be asked it might be one small positive out of a lot of negative.