Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Generation moxie

This is fascinating.

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.
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.
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 would be interesting to see how our risk adverse, highly individualist culture would respond to such a proposal here.


Steve V said...

That speaks to amazing bravery, but it's also a testament to an incredibly sad and lingering situation.

Beijing York said...

It's a testament to the Japanese commitment to communal over individual needs. We could use a bit more of that around here.

croghan27 said...

Remarkable in that they have time to think of it, consider the consequences

..... I have seen some underground miners go into some very shaky situations to withdrsw their workmates - and after 15 years on a refinery fire team, seen some people put themselves into some very bad places to help their fellows.

These were 'on-the-spot'decisions - but impressive nevertheless.

Canadian silver bug/Green Assassin Brigade said...

(warning, considerable generalizations based on my family will follow)

Considering the unwillingness of North American seniors to even consider minor life style changes needed to give their heirs a livable planet I do not see this kind of selflessness happening here.

A sizable majority of our seniors take no responsibility for the debt and environmental degradation made in their name over the last 40-50 years.

While obviously not present at the corporate level in Japan, the Japanese culture still has a strong sense of individual, familial and societal responsibility that our culture does not.

Let the flaming begin