Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Someone To Watch Over Me And My Dirt

This New York Times article (Link) on the out-of-all-control Fukushima cleanup is probably making the rounds. Still, I would be in remiss if I were to not to link to the piece.

How can one resist the return of Hata Tsutomuesque nonsense?
Japanese officials said adapting overseas technologies presented a particular challenge.

"Even if a method works overseas, the soil in Japan is different, for example," said Hidehiko Nishiyama, deputy director at the environment ministry, who is in charge of the Fukushima cleanup. "And if we have foreigners roaming around Fukushima, they might scare the old grandmas and granddads there."
Oh I am sure the journalists responsible for the above probably did not feel themselves the stewards of Nishiyama-san's reputation. But then again, evidently, neither did Nishiyama.

However silly, the remark will probably not overly damage Nishiyama's standing in his ministry. Calling Minke whales "the cockroaches of the sea" before an International Whaling Commission meeting made Counselor Komatsu Masayuki a global laughingstock -- but it did not leave him an ostracized pauper. (Link)

Many thanks to reader JM for alerting me to the NYT article.


Anonymous said...

[the soil in Japan is different]
[cockroaches of the sea]

These quotes taste like taiyaki to me. Yum. :)

Anonymous said...

No I missed this NYT report. Thanks for the notice. What a disappointing and infuriating turn of events.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone checked if that is what was really said to the NYT? It seems like one of those made-up quotes from the days of the trade wars, when US media claimed that Japan's WTO negotiators said Japanese snow was different, and that their intestines were longer...

MTC said...

Anonymous #3 -

Unfortunately, Japan's politicians did say the nutty things attributed to them. Check out what Hori Kosuke says about Japanese intestines in Diet session in 1980: