By Eric Margolis
Japan’s nuclear calamity has shown once again the remarkable courage, patience, and stoicism of that nation’s people.
As a visitor to Japan for the past 36 years and former columnist for one of its leading newspapers, “Mainichi Daily News,” the giant earthquake and ensuing tsunami that savaged northern Japan filled me with anguish and sorrow.
I watched at first fifty, then a hundred nuclear technicians and firefighters know as the “kamikaze brigade” risk their lives in a miasma of lethal radiation to fight the fires and explosions at Fukushima’s ravaged nuclear plant. Many knew they were facing death or grave future illness, yet the charged forward in the heroic Japanese tradition.
In Japan’s samurai code, an act of supreme bravery occurs when a fighter confronts impossible odds, or knows his death in battle is inevitable, yet still decides to fight for honor’s sake. In samurai lore, this is know as “the nobility of failure.”
Japanese history and, of course, World war II, are replete with examples of self-sacrifice and boundless valor in the face of certain defeat.
Brave and resolute as Japanese are, the question remains, why did Japan decide to build nuclear power plants they knew could be potentially dangerous only 15 years or so after the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki?