Japan’s ruling party is in need of carrying out damage control as much as the government is in need to clean up after the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster. The statement of Sanae Takaichi, the Liberal Democratic Party’s Policy Chief, was as damaging as Fukushima’s nuclear explosion. In her speech on Monday, Takaichi claimed that the Fukushima disaster caused “no deaths” among the residents.
Perhaps Takaichi was also proud that the government was able to attend to the Fukushima residents and had them evacuated into safety. Still, there was no denying that LDP’s policy chief supports the use of nuclear energy when she told the media, “We have no choice but to assure their utmost safety and utilize [the reactors].” No one was reported dead as a direct result of the explosion, but the scale of its effects on the victims were, and are, devastating. It goes without saying that thousands of people have lost their homes and livelihood because of the nuclear accident. There are still 106,000 people who cannot go back to their homes because of evacuation orders from the government. There are also residents who have already given up hopes and refuse to return.
A study of the Reconstruction Agency revealed deaths that were “indirectly related” to the Fukushima nuclear disaster. In August last year, the agency’s study showed 1,263 deaths caused by delayed medical intervention and suicides with 34 deaths found to have been related to “physical and psychological” stress. It will also not be surprising if some of those who survived have or will develop PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder.
Though Sanae Takaichi cannot take back her words, the government and the ruling party have to make sure that there will be no further damage, especially to the current administration, because of Takaichi’s insensitive speech. Yoshihide Suga, the chief government spokesman, said on Tuesday that the government is aware of the “the severity of the accident” and that the LDP policy chief’s statement was only misinterpreted. The secretary-general of the LDP also tried to minimize the damage when he said that Takaichi “didn’t mean to say it is OK [to restart the reactors] due to the absence of any deaths.”
LDP Policy Chief Takaichi is not the first government official who is causing predicament because of an uncalled statement. Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto is still reaping the repercussions of his statement involving “comfort women” during World War II. Both may have spoken what they personally thought, but the current administration and government are not impervious of their words’ gravity.
[via Wall Street Journal]
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