In the early days of the crisis(es) in Japan I was pretty calm and tried to keep panic in myself and others to a minimum. I still believe that was the right course. Living in a city of 29 million people means that one of the biggest potential threats is always panic. When 29 million people panic and try to do anything entire systems fail and people get hurt. I stayed calm, and I did my best to keep those around me calm too.
There were things I was wrong about. I believed that TEPCO (Tokyo Electric and Power Co.) was releasing information in a timely fashion. I believed them when they said that the reactors had not yet melted down, and I believed that they were doing all they could for the people who lived around the Fukushima Nuclear Plant. I poo-poohed those that said otherwise. I was wrong.
In the last two weeks more and more distressing information has come out of the investigations into the accident and more and more troubling decsions are being made by the Japanese government.
This story in particular is tragic, frustrating and scary.
Angry Parents in Japan Confront Government Over Radiation Levels
The main thrust of the story and of the parents concern is this...
At issue are updated government guidelines that allow schoolchildren to be exposed to radiation doses that are more than 20 times the previously permissible levels. That dose is equal to the international standard for adult nuclear power plant workers.I am not an expert at any of this and really even the scientists and nuclear engineers don't have many answers but it cannot be good to expose young kids to these kinds of levels and it is criminally negligent to say it is OK to do so.
My Friends at Safecast.org are focused on getting readings at schools for just this reason. Parents have a right to as much information as possible to make the best decisions they can for their families.
I should know better after being politically active during the Bush regime, but I did trust that in a crisis of this kind, TEPCO or at least the Japanese gov. were being honest. They were not and are not now. And from now on...Distrust, Verify and THEN trust.