Monday, March 14, 2011

The radiation catastrophe at Fukushima Daiichi and Mayor Karl Dean's "essential" travel

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.


  1. What's the big deal? I hear Dean presented his hosts with a box of Smokey Mountain Salt Water Taffy he picked up in Gatlinburg. The fact they bowed towards him after he presented it tells me all is fine.

  2. Go easy on our fearless leader. He who ignores neighborhoods in the name of growing the tax base. We need that tax revenue for schools and public safety. Besides, I want to see all the family vacation photos from Japan during his campaign. If you keep this up, he will refrain from posting them for all of us to see just how great he really is. He fights floods, earthquakes, tsunamis…..I want to see the cape.

  3. What's remarkable is that he and his staff appears to have little relationship with Bridgestone management. If they did, they would have called management there and said, "Hey what do you think?" I bet folks there would have explained the cultural aspect to them. For all of the relationships with big business, this one falls through the cracks. And to think, Dean is the great Democrat hope for statewide office? He has no judgment.