A group of more than 200 Japanese pensioners are volunteering to tackle the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima power station.The Skilled Veterans Corps, as they call themselves, is made up of retired engineers and other professionals, all over the age of 60. They say they should be facing the dangers of radiation, not the young.I find myself wondering if this could or would happen here? Would something like this be too unpalatable for the young to let the old participate? Or would the old not form such a movement, thinking the response is best left to younger professionals?
It was while watching the television news that Yasuteru Yamada decided it was time for his generation to stand up. No longer could he be just an observer of the struggle to stabilise the Fukushima nuclear plant. The retired engineer is reporting back for duty at the age of 72, and he is organising a team of pensioners to go with him.
"I am 72 and on average I probably have 13 to 15 years left to live," he says.
"Even if I were exposed to radiation, cancer could take 20 or 30 years or longer to develop. Therefore us older ones have less chance of getting cancer."
Mr Yamada is lobbying the government hard for his volunteers to be allowed into the power station. The government has expressed gratitude for the offer but is cautious.
It would be interesting to see how our risk adverse, highly individualist culture would respond to such a proposal here.