Wednesday 6 July 2011

Petty Scandals

Dear Friends
I wasn't going to do a post tonight but the twists and turns in the management of the crisis are fascinating. The Minister for the Recovery, Matsumoto, only lasted nine days. His attitude was appalling. He visited the governor of Miyagi but told him point blank (and on television) that the government would only help those who were willing to cooperate (he was referring to some fishing cooperatives who'd been objecting to the injection of private funding).  Then he went on to berate the governor for not being in the room first to welcome him. When he visited the governor of Iwate (who must have been briefed as he was waiting outside the building), Matsumoto arrived bouncing a football which he suddenly kicked at the governor who had to attempt an undignified (and unsuccessful) save. This high-handed manner used to be quite common among certain Japanese men but thankfully they're a dying breed. Matsumoto's attitude just served to underline the tremendous gap in attitude between the central government and the regions and yet again  the calibre of the people in this government. He's been replaced by his deputy, a Mr Hirano.  At least he's from the north (Iwate).

Further confusion over safety. After METI Minister Kaieda last weeek assured the people around the Genkai nuclear plant in Kyushu that the plant was safe and the government would take full responsiblity, today Prime Minister Kan announced that all nuclear plants would undergo stress tests. So is the Genkai plant safe or not? The local village is in favour (needs the cash) but the governor of the prefecture is not sure. Things have not been helped by the news that Kyushu Electricity instructed its sub-contractors to send e-mails and faxes in support of the reopening of the plant to a TV programme sponsored by METI to discuss the issue. Seems like the 'Atomic Village' is alive and well.

Nearer home, our company's sales for June were right on forecast. Is this a one-off or the start of the recovery? The final figures aren't in yet but things are looking better than they have since the disaster.

But with heavy rain (I've been soaked twice) and Force 5+ earthquakes in Wakayama (south of Osaka) on Monday and in Nagano 10 days ago, things are still unsettled.
Bye for now

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