The Japanese Government's Response to Disaster

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The chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has given a much more dire analysis of the nuclear threat bearing down on Japan than Japanese officials. Gregory Jaczko told Congress yesterday that the damage to at least one reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant was more serious than Tokyo has described, and suggested Americans in that country stay at least 50 miles away — well above the Japanese evacuation area of 12 miles from the plant.

Questions over whether the government is being completely open with the Japanese people during this crisis has led some to wonder about the efficiency of not only the problem at the nuclear plant, but also about the efficiency of the entire relief and rescue operation going on in Japan right now. Noriko Hama, professor of economics and Vice Dean of Doshisha University in Kyoto says Japan has particular bureaucratic constraints that might hinder such a massive emergency operation.