I’m in Singapore. On my way home. Taking some time to meet with media and technology people and understand the Singapore system a bit better. Met with someone late yesterday from the media regulator who was high up in a 36-story building in Tokyo a week ago when the earthquake struck.
His observations: Japanese building standards are very good. The building swayed and the experience was very scary and unsettling. But not life threatening.
Once it stopped and the enormity of the Tsunami was revealed, along with the nuclear calamity, he described the behavior and demeanor of the Japanese people as extraordinary and humbling.
He said where in many other countries there would be looting or stocking up on supplies, people were calm, forming orderly queues for supplies and only buying what they need for now. In Tokyo, where so many rely on public transport which has been badly affected, people are buying bicycles and just cycling home.
He said people have faith in their system and in their government.
And yet, there are mounting concerns that the Japanese people aren’t being told the full story about the radiation threats. The guy I spoke to was really concerned that they weren’t being told the truth and about the effect this would have, not only on their health, but on the national psyche, if their trust in government was eroded.
The news throughout the world is full of these questions, with few answers. There are mounting calls for more transparency from the Japanese Government.
In such circumstances, which we can only imagine with horror, surely we would want the truth.
PS: The guy I spoke to managed to get a plane out of Tokyo a couple of days ago.