Since I last posted on Mayor Dean's trip to Japan on Friday in the immediate wake of earthquakes and tsunamis, things continue to get more critical for the island nation with the number of Japanese missing or dead topping 5,000. Tonight at a nuclear power plant 135 miles from Tokyo (where Mayor Dean and his family are staying) plant workers and news media have been ordered to evacuate because radiation has reached 400 times the legal limit. To compound the disaster, winds are reportedly blowing from the leaking plant toward Tokyo, and Geiger counter readings in Tokyo rose to "worrisome" levels at one point.
As the situation gets more and more grave in Japan's crisis, the questions a handful of us have been asking about the wisdom of Karl Dean's mission to Japan become even more poignant.
I am not the only blogger raising these issues. Catherine McTamaney blogged an impressive list of reasons why Mayor Karl Dean's trip to Japan right now is outrageous. They are all worth a read, but I particularly wanted to draw your attention to her point that Japan's cultural code of honor would have obligated Mayor Dean's hosts to say "yes" if he had asked whether he and his family should have come to Japan last Friday in the wake the quakes. The ball really was more in the Mayor's court to take the initiative and postpone this ill-advised trip while assuring Japanese officials of support during these catatrophes.