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Real Radiation Outweighs Toxic Japanese Debt: William Pesek - Bloomberg

In high-tech, hypermodern Tokyo the most sought-after items are decidedly primitive: candles, flashlights, surgical masks and duct tape.

For that, we have more than just Friday's deadly earthquake and tsunami to blame but also the nation's shameful nuclear- safety record. It is boomeranging on all of us 126 million Japan residents. What's freaking us out even more than quakes and tsunamis is the risk of radiation drifting our way.

Yes, it was a huge quake and Japanese officials are working tirelessly and putting themselves in harm's way to avoid the worst. And yes, Monday-morning quarterbacking is of limited utility with Japan still counting the costs of the tragedy in lives and destruction. Yet Japanese have been put at risk by years of institutionalized neglect.

Neither has the information flow inspired much trust. Government officials say don't worry, radiation risks are "containable" and at the same time they tell people to evacuate. If we learned anything from the subprime-loan crisis, it's that anytime a public official uses the C-word it's time to run for the hills.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 01:03:23 PM EST

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