The recent nuclear disaster in Japan is one of the worst nuclear disasters in the history of mankind. With the radiation levels increasing every day, the questions about the safety zones and other things are being asked by the Japanese national media. The Government is trying their level best to cope with the general situation. For decades the media and Japanese Government have shared a warm relationship, but it has come to a halt at the time of national crisis.
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Historically speaking the Japanese media can be termed as the "watchdog" for the front level politics in Japan, but the times have changed with the awake of the disaster. As per Takashi Uesugi, the writer of the book called "The Collapse of Journalism", the relation between the bureaucracy and media is complex in Japan which is unheard in the Western World (Uesugi 2008). But with the rapid changing of the scenario, the reporters who never questions about the steps of the Government are asking questions which are not really conventional, and the disaster has made the Japanese media more aggressive than ever. Earlier, in a general press conference with the Prime Ministers, the reporters used to give the questionnaire to the Secretary of the Prime Minister and they only asked the questions that are being approved by the Government officials, and now it has been changed (Zarocostas 2011).
Randomly asked questions to the prime minister and other government officials have really shown what has happened in Fukushima, and it has really scared the general people in Japan. A general trivia of the accident is that there were over $600000 spent fuel rods in the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex and they were stored near the top of the 6 reactor building. As there have been a number of major explosions in the complex it is feared that no one can prevent the radiation from these spent fuel rods. Still this has not been confirmed by the Japanese government (Delamothe 2011).
The media is trying to be sure of any message about the further radioactive leakage but the government officials are tightlipped about the possibilities which also make the relationship volatile in the face of the general crisis. The only thing that the Japanese Government has said is that the radiation that has happened is really harmful to any living being and they are trying to cope up with the situation with all their might. While the Japanese Government is trying to downplay the crisis, the Japanese media has understood the gravity of the situation and ultimately taking the role of the general media and showing the crisis in its true lights (Zarocostas 2011).
Comparison with US
The Nuclear crisis in Japan has been alarmed the American public and they are eager to know what is the real thing in Japan, and most importantly if they are in the boundaries of the danger zone. The American people has understood one thing, that they are not talking about one Chernobyl, but the range of the mishap is equal to several Chernobyls, which is not being showcased by the general Japanese media and most importantly the Japanese Government. But the fact is clear as many foreign government who had posted their people in Japan are evacuating them on an emergency basis, the question the United States press is asking is that if there were no threats would the foreign governments take such a drastic step to evacuate the general personal from the accident spot (Delamothe 2011).
The American media has gone to the extent of researching the incident and they have mentioned several aspects that can really shake an ordinary person. Along with the request of the Japanese Prime Minister to the people of Japan who are inside the 30 kilometer radius of the accident to stay indoor, the head of French Nuclear Safety Authority, has said that the containment vessel which surrounds the No. 2 reactor of the complex is no longer sealed, so the radiation is going to be mixed in the general atmosphere. It has been proved that the general radiation level in Tokyo is 10 times more than the general radiation level which is really dangerous. As per the reports of Reuters, many residents of Tokyo have fled from the city after the disaster and in Saitama the radiation level is 40 times above the natural level (Zarocostas 2011).
A navy crew of the United States army who were assisting the rescue operation have been exposed to radiation which was worth of one months radiation in just one hour, so it is evident that the crisis is really a huge one. Among the countries that are evacuating their personals are Austria, China, Russia, Finland and Germany. Austria is moving their embassy from Tokyo to Osaka after the accident. Air China is canceling their flights to Japan after the nuclear disaster (Delamothe 2011).
The general people in the United States are panicked only to think if the radiation can enter the atmosphere of United States it will surely create adverse affects. But it is likely that the radiation will reach United States. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission in the United States has mentioned that it is "quite possible" (Zarocostas 2011) that the radiation can reach United States. Actually to be more precise, the spokesman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in the United States, Mr. David McIntyre has said that there are possibilities that the radiation could be in United States by stating, "Right now it's quite possible that there could be some radiation floating over the United States" (Taylor 2011). This is also supported by the French Nuclear Commissioner, and he said that "It's clear we are at Level 6, that's to say we're at a level in between what happened at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl" (CNN 2011).
If the radiation released from a damaged nuclear reactor in Japan got up to the jet stream in the atmosphere the first major land mass the radiation will encounter will be the continent of North America, and it will have very high consequences. Geographically speaking, the jet stream commonly takes air from the coast and the air goes to the West Coast of the United States of America (Zarocostas 2011).
So it is evident that the situation is quite risky for every citizen of America, but still the Government officials are pointing out that still there is no threat to the general American population due to the Japanese nuclear crisis, and there is no way that the general American public has to be panicked over the fact. But still it is evident that the Governments of both the two countries are trying to suppress some real facts from the general press and the common people.