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“Regulatory Capture” by the global nuclear industry, not just Japan

 in the Japanese original of Thursday’s report…it explains the disaster in terms of “regulatory capture” – that is, that the relationship between the regulators and the regulated was much too close, enabling the regulated to subject the regulators to undue pressure and influence.

he supposedly Japanese qualities that the report outlines, such as obedience, reluctance to question authority, “sticking with the programme” and insularity, are not at all unique to Japan, but are universal qualities in all societies.

The Fukushima report hides behind the cultural curtain By claiming the disaster was ‘made in Japan’, an official report reinforces, yet does not explain, unhelpful stereotypes Naoko Shimazu guardian.co.uk, 6 July 2012 More than a year after a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami struck Japan on 11 March 2011, the Fukushima nuclear accident independent investigation commission released an 88-page report this week delivering the indictment that Fukushima could not be considered a natural disaster but a “profoundly man-made disaster”.

It went on to state that “this was a disaster ‘made in Japan’. Its fundamental causes are to be found in the ingrained conventions of Japanese culture: our reflexive obedience; our reluctance to question authority; our devotion to ‘sticking with the programme’; and our ‘insularity’.”….

..  in the Japanese original of Thursday’s report. Instead, it explains the disaster in terms of “regulatory capture” – that is, that the relationship between the regulators and the regulated was much too close, enabling the regulated to subject the regulators to undue pressure and influence. By referring to regulatory capture, the Japanese report points the finger of blame at the complex entanglement of political, bureaucratic, and financial interests dating back to the heyday of high economic growth, a thinly veiled criticism of the one-party Liberal Democratic party rule that has dominated Japan’s politico-industrial world for much of the post-1945 era. In the English edition, regulatory capture appears in the main report but not in the chairman’s message.

Bringing out the “made in Japan” argument is not helpful. It panders to the uniqueness idea and does not explain, but rather reinforces, existing stereotypes. Moreover, the supposedly Japanese qualities that the report outlines, such as obedience, reluctance to question authority, “sticking with the programme” and insularity, are not at all unique to Japan, but are universal qualities in all societies.

Putting a cultural gloss on the critical investigative report sends a confusing message to the global community – particularly when it comes from a country that is a world leader in technological sophistication. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jul/06/fukushima-report-disaster-japan

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July 9, 2012 - Posted by | Japan, secrets,lies and civil liberties

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