Thursday, March 24, 2011

Dogs And Demons

Somehow, the biggest nuclear misadventure to ever have occurred on our planet has slipped to page 2. or perhaps the entertainment section of our collective consciousness. The nuclear industry seems to be content to be able to walk away with their propaganda..."It wasn't so bad, was it? You"re still alive! So Fuggedabout it!"
We know it's not over and the long term results are just beginning to be thought of and perceived. Like traumatic shock victims, the initial euphoria of survival is just the beginning of the reality of the trauma.
As the information unfolds, the rest of the world seems to be just discovering the real symptoms of secrecy, disinformation and cover up which are endemic to the closed world of Japanese Business Culture. The same symptoms which were behind the Japanese economic bubble blast of the 90's, secrecy and ignoring the warning signs have historically been the tragic flaw of the Japanese Nuclear Power Industry.
But how could a culture, which was the first to have experienced the true horror of nuclear power unleashed, let their industry systematically ignore safety checks and whitewash the accidents which have occurred over the last 50 years?
I would recommend a book by Alex Kerr, Dogs And Demons, Tales From The Dark Side Of Japan.
Alex published the book in 2001. He is an American author, but he writes as a true insider, with a unique view of Japanese culture from a historical esthetic sense coupled with a hands on real time view of Japanese economic reality. Alex was, in fact, the only non Japanese writer to have ever won their version of the Pulitzer Prize for his 1993 best selling book, Lost Japan. Lost Japan is portrait of a culture destroying and creating a fantasy of itself at the same time.
Dogs and Demons on the other hand is a damning document which catalogues the economic, ecological and cultural disintegration of Japan which is occurring at a dizzying pace.
The book was so disturbing to the Japanese that he ended up leaving Japan and now lives in Bangkok. None the less, he exposes the culture of corruption and cover up which led to the disaster in Fukushima...If understanding Japan and how the conditions which allowed this nuclear disaster evolved is at all interesting to you, you must read this book!

1 comment:

Sallyann Doyle said...

I wonder why there are no comments...having nearly finished reading "Dogs and Demons", and having an interest in the ecology of the planet, and having just got back from Japan, I'm feeling very underwhelmed by the response to Fukushima. Is it just too hard for people to grasp? Reactions to my trip to Japan are totally absorbed by a "gee the culture is amazing" type comment...and once I agree to that (easily) but also point out some of the things that troubled me, people just turn off. I'm finding this pretty scary. BTW I found your website by accident but many thanks for addressing this!
Good on you.