How The Media Has Hurt The Japanese People

First and foremost I have a personal message for the 180 or so heroes who have been working in shifts around the clock to save their nation from a worse disaster than the one that Japan has already suffered.

To the Heroes of Fukushima: 

May you each be most correctly and sincerely honored - not just by by your own nation, but by the whole world.  You have risked your lives to save others.  You are morally remarkable people who have actively taken part in serving our global society.  Through your diligence and perseverance you have become public role models.  You each deserve at least these three medals of honor:

How the world's media has harmed Japan:

At a time when the ordinary people of Japan need urgent help in the many areas devastated by earthquake, fire and flood, some sections of the media have diverted global attention from the many victims of the earthquake to the nuclear incidents in Fukushima Prefecture.

With every new story describing, not what was actually happening, but what, in the writer's opinion might be happening, the demand for information increased globally.  This led to so much demand on some of the relevant servers that - in my opinion - it amounted to a denial of service to the people who most needed the information: the Japanese people.

First priority of access to information must go to the emergency responders.  As I hinted in a reductio ad absurdum - Some Thoughts On Priorities  - the order of priorities in a dire emergency does not include arguing with alarmists, conspiracy theorists and agendists.

Quite apart from putting an unfair strain on communications channels already disrupted by the disaster - the spreading of rumor, innuendo and unwarranted claims of 'inside knowledge' by blog and by email has diverted government resources from the task at hand.  It has also been deeply hurtful to ordinary people in Japan.


Following the huge global demand for information, the relevant data sources have upgraded their capacities.  There are very many national and international emergency response agencies which provide essential services to responders on the ground.  Now that some time has passed I feel the time has come when access by a wider readership will not cause problems.

Accordingly, I recommend my readers to visit the following web pages - and the links they provide -  for a wealth of data related to the quake, the tsunami and the current status of the nuclear incident.

quake and tsunami data:
Weblinks relevant to the Sendai Earthquake and Tsunami [Updated 16 March]

Japanese government site:
NISA - Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency
Japan Meteorological Agency
Japan Atomic Energy Agency
JAEA Radiation Monitoring website

NISA - Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency
International Atomic Energy Authority

NHK English
Thanks to ChrisR for pointing me to the last three links.
Thanks to Helen for JAEA radiation monitoring link.

Edit: added link - Thanks to Nick Barnes -

Footnote - I have no hidden agenda

I have tried to cover the nuclear incident without bias.  That is very difficult for me because of my strong belief that we must curb our excessive global consumption of energy from coal, gas, oil and nuclear sources.  My own 'take' on this is that as with every large-scale technological accident we must learn our lessons and move on. 

Despite the Gulf oil incident last year we did not ban oil drilling.  We moved on.  Despite the Concorde fire in France we did not ban aircraft.  We moved on.  Despite miners crushed to death by rock falls our ancestors did not ban flint.   We moved on.

We shall move on again today.  We always have.