The National Diet of Japan The official report of Executive summary The Fukushima
Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission
This report identifies the Japanese cultural tendency toward what it calls “groupism” as a leading human contributor to the appalling situation which resulted in the Fukushma Nuclear Disaster. The groupism is a social pressure which excludes alternate knowledge and perceptions. Sanctions are serious and includes social and economic isolation. The following individuals identify “groupism” as a major contributor to the disaster and its consequences:
Medical Doctor; Academic Fellow, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies;
Former President of the Science Council of Japan
Seismologist; Professor Emeritus of Kobe University
Advisor to the President of Japan International Cooperation
Agency; Former Ambassador of Japan to the United Nations
Medical Doctor; Former Chief of the National Institute of
Lawyer; Former Chief Prosecutor of the Nagoya High Public
Prosecutors Office; Former Inspector General for Legal
Compliance, Inspector General’s Office, Defense Ministry
Chemist; Fellow, Shimadzu Corporation
Professor, Chuo Law School, Chuo University; lawyer
Chair, Society of Commerce and Industry, Okuma Town,
Social System Designer; Director, University of Tokyo Executive
Management Program (Todai EMP)
The report was accepted by the Japanese Diet.
The Chairman, Kiyoshi Kurokawa
Medical Doctor; Academic Fellow, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies;
Former President of the Science Council of Japan, wrote : “What must be admitted – very painfully – is that this was a disaster “Made in Japan.”
Its fundamental causes are to be found in the ingrained conventions of Japanese culture:
our reflexive obedience; our reluctance to question authority; our devotion to ‘sticking with
the program’; our groupism; and our insularity.
Had other Japanese been in the shoes of those who bear responsibility for this accident,
the result may well have been the same.”
There are people in Japan who have read the above conclusions and who do attempt to act as responsible adults in relation to the ongong consequences of the accident.
By and large, these people comprise the mothers and fathers, mainly mothers, who attempt to counter the still officially encouraged culture of “groupism” so condmened by the Japanese Diet’s investigation of the accident in the first instance.
Government experts and government funded doctors dismiss the concerns of parents in the following manner: :I regularly join children’s health consultations organized in Fukushima, Koriyama and other cities by a group of physicians gathered from across the country at the behest of a Fukushima NPO (nonprofit organization).
What shocked me the first time I participated in January of last year was the gap between what the newspapers and TV news were reporting and the reality in Fukushima as attested to by the mothers who came for consultations.
Wanting to protect their children from radiation, they pleaded with the prefectural and city governments and local doctors, but none would take their side.
They just said things like, “It’s safe. You don’t have to take any special action. There are lots of radiation-phobia mothers, and we can’t deal with them all.”
They worry that they have to continue living amid high radiation levels due to their inability to evacuate the prefecture for financial or other reasons.
But even other mothers said things to them such as, “The prefecture and city say it’s safe, so it’s OK,” and, “It’s strange of you to express alarm, even though you’re staying.” Even spouses differed, with husbands telling their wives they worry too much.
These women are isolated in their communities and families as they conceal their discomfort. Many reproach themselves, thinking, “Maybe I’m the one who’s strange,” and become depressed.
It seemed they were meeting disapproval simply for coming to the consultations. I was at a loss for words because of these mothers’ situation, and I could not sleep at night because I was so enraged at the government’s heartless response.
Since soon after the nuclear accident, the national government and industry experts have repeatedly said that radiation levels are not high enough to immediately affect one’s health.
Thinking they could not know what effects it would have in the future because of the example of the Chernobyl disaster, mothers desperately gathered information and pleaded for the authorities to prepare.
But all the experts did was say, “It’s safe so you don’t need (radiation) checks, and we do not recommend evacuating the prefecture.”
Yet the children were exhibiting a range of symptoms including sore throats, nosebleeds, diarrhea, fatigue, headaches and rashes. The most dangerous thing is to write off causes of illness as psychosocial factors with statements like, “Your child’s stress comes from not being able to go outdoors” and that a “mother worrying will make her child sick.”
When I talk with mothers coming for consultations lately, it seems more of them are exhausted and trying to maintain their psychological balance by forcing themselves to think, “There’s nothing I can do,” “This, too, is fate” and “It’s easier on my mind to forget about the radiation and just live my life.” Perhaps because their feeling of powerlessness is unchanged despite all their pleas.
The same thing is happening in Tokyo, too. At the request of parents and guardians, the school my child attends is still being careful about where school lunch ingredients are made, and they invite radiation experts to give talks to the children on ways to protect the body from radiation. But schools like this have become the minority.
If we say “it’s safe” despite the risks only to erase fears, then we simply leave in place the danger that defenseless children may be contaminated.
As concern over nuclear accidents and radiation lessens, people have begun to go so far as to talk about restarting idle reactors.
Now, in the third year since the onset of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, an event we were told would change our values and the way we live, there are still evacuees who cannot return home.
Is concern over nuclear accidents already fading away? Or are people consciously trying to forget?
The Asahi Shimbun asked Katsuno Onozawa, a doctor of psychosomatic medicine, who has taken part in children’s health consultations in Fukushima Prefecture.
hope people will take what the government and media say with a grain of salt and will not stop thinking and acting for themselves.
Katsuno Onozawa, born in 1965, earned a degree in women’s health from Melbourne University Graduate School in 1996. She conducted research for the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London and now works at a Tokyo clinic. http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/opinion/AJ201304300010
There is ample evidence within the field of nuclear medicine to show individual syndromes such as radiation fatigue exists as levels of exposure below that required for the onset of ARS.
The assumption that all is well in Fukushima today in terms of health effects which include fatigue, sore throats and other symptoms is a form of “groupism” in which selve serving assumptions are maintained by authorities to the extent that ordinary taxpayers who report discordant experiments become victims of “groupism”, a polite word for exclusion, isolatin, social isolation, ridicule and other bullying tactics.
The government’s report on the effects of the accident in 3 years time may well record that “groupism” stopped the advance of awareness in Japanese medicine in regards to the effects of the disaster upon ordinary people, and that the government paid doctors who abused their patients by application of this “groupism” should not be singled out because its the fault of the culture.
I would point out to Kiyoshi Kurokawa and others who hold individuals who follow social norms excused because of social norms that the Nuremberg Principles, which the civilised world have followed for many years, and which still apply, explain “groupism” in another way. The Prinicples explain that the mere mindless following of orders does not take away the moral imperative for people to act against illegal. The Principle is stated as :
Main article: Superior Orders
Principle IV states: “The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him”.
This principle could be paraphrased as follows: “It is not an acceptable excuse to say ‘I was just following my superior’s orders'”.
My question to the Japanese Diet is this: Do the Doctors in the pay of the Japanese government and who, as a consequence, label the mothers of Fukushima “radiophobic”, as reported, have the same moral courage as the mothers they label as phobic? On what basis is the diagnosis made? Is radiophobia in fact an illness described and recognised in DSMIV? If not, is the government of Japan abusing the principles of psychology in order to justify its current actions towards those who act with moral courage and point out reality to higher authorities?
When is the Japanese government going to devise a program to overturn “groupism” in Japan and render it subject to sanction itself?
If, from 1970 to 2011 the leaders of nuclear industry in relation of Fukushima were not to be believed, please explain why the same ethos and sanctions as practiced from 1970 to 2011 by nuclear industry should be tolerated when practiced and excersized by government funded medicine in Japan today?
Is groupism in Japan dead? I think not. Still too many lack moral courage. “Groupism”, as identified by the Japanese Diet is just another term describing the process of bullying so commonly performed by the ignorant in leadership against the aware subordinate all around the world.
“Prof. Kurokawa concluded his lecture, saying that the mindset that supported the Fukushima catastrophe” can be found across Japan. In recognizing that fact, each of us should reflect on our responsibility as individuals in a democratic society.””
Flinging diagnoses at the mother’s of Fukushima which don’t even exist in DSM IV is not a way in which appointed medicos demonstate “moral courage” nor their ability to reflect upon their responsibilies.