A Kamikaze Roadmap That Leads to Nowhere

Tuesday, April 19 2011 @ 07:41 AM JST

Contributed by: Y.Yamamoto


These tasteless guys and broad are all smiles. You will
find out why in this article.
The task to draw one had long been overdue because a roadmap is something you need to have at the onset of the journey. But after all these stopgap measures taken by the government and Tokyo Electric Power Company in an extremely haphazard way, any roadmap was useless because they had already strayed deep into the forest.

But of course, in this unviable nation, ritual significance always outweighs practical usefulness by far. Prime Minister Naoto Kan thought he would have to show a disaster recovery plan to Hillary Clinton on her brief stopover in Tokyo on her way home from Seoul. That is why on the same day, Chairman of Tokyo Electric Power Company Tsunehisa Kawamata unveiled what he called a detailed blueprint to end the crisis hastily concocted over night by his men.

The members of the TEPCO press club and their fellow reporters in the mainstream media are making believe TEPCO's roadmap is something that is worth a serious examination. But I haven't studied it, and will never, because it is yet another rubbish which shows the power company and the government have learned nothing from their initial flop.

At a glance I can tell it has nothing in common with what this retired businessman would call an action plan. I would rather term it "Kamikaze Roadmap" because it looks like a war plan for an unwinnable war. To begin with, there is no goal that has a solid foundation. TEPCO says its goal is to bring all the reactors of the Fukushima No. 1 Plant to "cold shutdowns." But it does not say on what grounds the "Chernobyl solution" has been ruled out. (The government of the Soviet Union decommissioned the power station by putting the entire facility in a "sarcophagus.") In other words, the goal stated there is nothing more than the outcome of the constant politicization of the issue.

Moreover, there are too many what-ifs left unanswered in the false roadmap. No risk factors are identified and no alternative or contingency plans are provided.

TEPCO says it wishes to achieve its goal of cold shutdown in 6 to 9 months. But it doesn't say a word about the possible recurrence of a major earthquake and tsunami within this period. The power company just crosses its fingers about that.

In short, the entire plan is based on wishful thinking.

In this connection, it's interesting to know the widespread myth about Japan's supremacy in robotics has fallen apart in the meantime. Toyota, for one, has developed a robot who can play the violin. Instead of buying a fiddling robot from the automaker, TEPCO yesterday rented out a couple of "Wheelbarrows" from the U.S. belatedly to have a look at the inside of the crippled reactors. These robots gathered radioactive and some other relevant data which indicated assumptions for TEPCO's roadmap were way too optimistic. As some independent journal puts it, the roadmap turned out a joke on Day 1 of its life.

It's no coincidence that Clinton's brief visit here coincided with Kawamata's announcement of the unactionable action plan. It's no accident, either, that U.S. Secretary of State brought along U.S. Chamber of Commerce CEO Thomas Donohue. It's quite obvious from the picture embedded above that they are celebrating something in the middle of the nuclear nightmare.

An old Japanese proverb goes, "[You can always] turn a bad luck into a good one." Prime Minister Kan has learned how. His immediate predecessor Yukio Hatoyama, his grandfather Ichiro Hatoyama and Kan's archrival Ichiro Ozawa all had a bad luck simply because they were not really pro-Washington. Now Kan was effectively kissing the filthy asses of Clinton and Donohue when he handed them the unworkable roadmap, hastily translated into English, which ruled out the Chernobyl option for no solid reason. In return, these guys from Washington assured the Japanese Prime Minister that he can stay in power until the relocation plan of the U.S. Marine Corps' airbase to Henoko is implemented.

On the part of these guys from Washington, too, the bad luck has brought a good luck because the relocation plan will be carried out despite the fierce protests by the Okinawans, and GE, Westinghouse, and other major players in U.S. nuclear industry can rest assured of their sustainable prosperity. I am not sure, however, that Clinton and Donohue are maliciously intended. Another Japanese adage goes: "The more the child is poorly-made, the more the parent dotes on him." That can be the case here because the Americans have traditionally had a tendency toward necromania. Let's be reminded that back in the late-'60s, some of them were already saying, "Only a dead Viet Cong is a good Viet Cong."

At any rate this is what this "Operation Tomodachi" is all about.

To these guys, the good thing always offsets against the bad thing. But to other people, that simply means twin disasters.

The April 17 deal struck under the table will certainly bring an undue suffering to the people of Okinawa, Japan's last colony. And what is the implication of the mishandled crisis for taxpayers? It certainly means an added suffering across the nation.

An analyst at Bank of America Merrill Lynch has estimated that the compensation TEPCO will have to indemnify the victims of the radiation leaks may top 10 trillion yen, while the company's networth is 2.5 trillion.

The media matter-of-factly say the shortfall should be subsidized by the government. Also in all likelihood, the government will have to subsidize more than that to prevent electricity bills from rising too far. At the end of the day, it's none other than taxpayers that will have to foot the bill for the government's mishandling of the crisis.

Now it seems as though these brain-dead Japanese are getting ready once again to swallow the injustice stemming from the incompetence on the part of their government. If they think that's OK, then that'll be OK with me, too. Just the same, I will have to win my legal battle against the city hall of Yokohama all by myself.

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