Encouraging Message


In this Internet-era, more often surprises may come at you. Sometimes, I receive emails from this website of my blog and this time I got one from US Naval officer, Mr John Zimmerman, Manager Submarine Combat and Weapon Control. He told me that he was very impressed by the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission Report by the National Diet (NAIIC.go.jp) chaired by me and he posted in his LinkedIn his comment with a title ‘The Most Honorable Act.’ Thank you, Mr Zimmerman for your encouraging note. I read his message and posted my response to his LinkedIn. His message is shown below for your reading. Thank you, Mr Zimmerman for your encouraging note.

The Most Honorable Act
May 17, 2015

On 11 March 2011 a magnitude 9.0 earthquake occurred off the eastern coast of Japan. The resulting tsunami killed over 15,000 people and destroyed over 400,000 homes and buildings. Fifty minutes after the earthquake struck a tsunami measuring over 40 feet high overflowed the seawall at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. While the plant’s nuclear reactors had already been shutdown in response to the earthquake, the flooding resulted in a loss of power to pumps that were needed to cool the nuclear power plants’ reactors. In the days to come reactor core damage and hydrogen explosions would cause substantial radioactivity to be released to the environment.

In response to the disaster Japan’s government set up an independent commission to investigate what had occurred. The report can be found on the internet – Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission.

If the commission wanted to find excuses for this tragedy it would not have been difficult to do given the natural disaster that had occurred. Yet it is clear to me that this commission wasn’t looking for excuses. It was looking for the truth. What struck me very hard in the beginning of the report was Kiyoshi Kurokawa’s ‘Message from the Chairman’.

“What must be admitted – very painfully – is 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 program’; our groupism; and our insularity.”…

“The consequences of negligence at Fukushima stand out as catastrophic, but the mindset that supported it can be found across Japan. In recognizing that fact, each of us should reflect on our responsibility as individuals in a democratic society.” …

With all of Japan and the world watching the commission’s main message was – this horrible tragedy was of our own making.

How often do you confront issues that you don’t address because you are worried about what might occur, people or organizations that could be embarrassed, retribution that might occur? Today we seek leaders and organizations we can trust. Honor, Courage, and Commitment are our Navy’s core values. We want people who have the courage to confront real problems and ‘tell it like it is’. Only through courage and commitment can the most challenging issues be addressed.

Some may have thought the commission’s report brought dishonor on Japan. To me Chairman Kurokawa’s Message and the report’s honesty, integrity, and transparency was – The Most Honorable Act, befitting the very best traditions of a great country and people.

“Having chosen our course, without guile and with pure purpose, let us renew our trust in God, and go forward without fear and with manly hearts”  Abraham Lincoln