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Thursday, April 21, 2011


'Trashing' Kan serves no purpose


Regarding the April 10 article, " 'Kan the Destroyer' needs his fire back": I must register my near total disagreement with Michael Hoffman's trashing of Prime Minister Naoto Kan. While he speaks of "dithering" by the current administration and its "pathetic irrelevance" in the aftermath of the accident, he gives no examples. I would suggest that any government would be overwhelmed by the sheer scale of this crisis, especially with the added complication of the Fukushima nuclear accident. The current administration's response is a huge improvement over the Murayama administration's tardy reaction to the Kobe earthquake of 1995, a much more localized disaster.

Furthermore, within the Kan administration, there are currently plans to dismantle Tokyo Electric Power Co., which would involve tackling several of the problems that led to this disaster, notably the cozy relationship between Tepco and the bureaucrats who are supposed to be regulating it.

Also addressed would be Tepco's huge "advertising budget," which is used to push media coverage toward a uniformly pro-nuclear message. Political donations by Tepco would be banned.

The bureaucrats at the Ministry of Trade, Economy and Industry and the politicians who have benefited from Tepco's largess — the very people who reassured us that reactors built on fault lines were 100 percent safe — will resist this tooth and nail.

Hoffman should be supporting the Kan administration's attempts to take on the powers that be, not simply contributing to the old-guard attempts to take him down.

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The Japan Times
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