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March 17, 2011 1:14 am MST

Dear Japan -

  • by: MADCO

Dear Japan –

First, my sincere condolences for your loss and present disaster.  I wish I could help , and if anyone needs a bed and wants to come to Denver, Colorado, USA, I’m glad to put you up.

I have been accused of being rude and classless in a way that could offend you.  That was never my intention.  And I apologize for saying anything that may have had that effect.  I’ll be more careful in the future.

I spent some time at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan many years ago.  I was confronted by Japanese Nationalists who made very clear that they did not want me nor the US military in Japan in any capacity.  

I understand protesters and support their right to protest, even if it means protesting me and the USA.  I also understand that those protesters did not and do not speak for most of Japan.  

That said, in the context of current US military assistance to Japan, a friend observed that now might be a good time for the Japanese Nationalists who have protested our presence so often and so loudly for so long to acknowledge that for now our presence and assistance is  a good thing.  I agreed with him. And in the process offended others who found it rude and classless to even bring it up now.  Due respect, and no disrespect intended to anyone in Japan, but if not now, when?

I consider the USA and Japan to have a special relationship that is valuable to both nations. In fact, valuable to the global community.  That relationship has involved and will continue to involve significant US military presence in Japan.    And I know that the Japanese Nationalists do not speak for most of the Japanese people.   I want the USA to help in whatever way we can.

I don’t know if you follow our political pop culture.  Perhaps you are familiar with Glenn Beck.  He’s a media personality and though I don’t agree with him on many things, I don’t care about that.  I do care that he sensationalizes and hypes the news for ratings and just makes stuff up.  There is also a local radio entertainer in Denver named Dan Caplis. I agree with him about as often but find him also to be full of sensationalizing  and hype.   Recently, they both separately observed that your citizens have not been rioting and looting in the current crisis.    Lest you think this is a compliment, it’s really a slam on those in America who have rioted or looted in disasters here.

It is a compliment to Japan, but not from those two.  It’s a compliment because it speaks to how Japanese people feel about the duties of citizenship.  I think it’s because your people are enmeshed with and bonded to Japan. They feel like they are part of the Japanese  country and community because they are.  Single payer national healthcare. Mass transit for everyone. Income and wealth disparity, sure, but progressive taxation and the average CEO salary as a multiple of the average worker at 11 is far less than the almost 500 x for USA CEOs.

I can see why the residents would feel a part of it.  Here, too many Americans are left out and left behind. Feeling left out and disenfranchised, they see CEO’s and politicians take whatever and whenever they can and they lose sight of how wrong that is and do the same when they can.

Japan, you are a world leader. An exemplary nation and one I admire greatly.  If anything I said offended anyone in Japan, I apologize.

Good luck in your current crisis and your future –




If you run across two liars called HMAN or GOPWarrior, do not believe a ward they say.  They ran out on their debts and obligations here and are not men of their word.


37 thoughts on “Dear Japan –

  1. People are starving. People are still buried in rubble… some next to the bodies of everyone they love, and many of them with more physical and emotional pain than we will know in our lifetimes.

    Too soon for this. JMHO.  

    1. if that’s why you’re saying “too soon”, Nancy.  I think this is sincere with some signature MADCO humor for lightness added.  Even though MADCO apparently isn’t  responding to me or accepting any apology from me over this, I’m quite sure that MADCO only means well in writing this. We all hope for only the best for the people of Japan and I’ll take the liberty here of saying MADCO included.  

    2. I want them all to be helped.

      I’m not questioning them for building a nuclear power plant with multiple reactors in a known fault zone.  (20% of the commercial reactors world wide are similarly situated.)

      I’m not suggesting anyone should hold back helping in any way we can.  I’m serious about house guests- and have already made the offer directly to two displaced families.

      It’s the worst possible single catastrophic occurance I can think of.  And you forgot to mention it’s been snowing and raining in Fukushima for the past 24 hours.

      I’m sincerely apologetic.

      I don’t think I was offensive – but we all know that’s not really the relevant standard, don’t we?

      I think it’s possible to be critical of people without being rude. Even when they are in the middle of a crisis.  I admire Japan for many, many things. How they re dealing with this crisis among them.  But after sleeping on it, I decided that offending others while not my goal is too easy in the current climate, and that I should be more careful. I will be.

      1. them out for their safety, the first thing I thought, since the reactors obviously aren’t getting any safer, was confirmed when I read this:

        “They need to stop pulling out people — and step up with getting them back in the reactor to cool it. There is a recognition this is a suicide mission,” the unnamed U.S. official was quoted by ABC as saying.

        And I’m sure the brave workers going back in know it. We should all feel humbled in the face of their sacrifice. Pretty sure we all do.

        1. And I am confident that the Japanese reaction will be to honor that sacrifice. And the heirs and others who  survive the workers will be cared for.

  2. If anyone knows of displaced families who do decide to spend some time in Colorado, I have enough empty space in my house that a family of four could probably live quite comfortably for a while.  

      1. I have an email in my profile that I check at least every couple of days–feel free to give that out if it looks like there may be a need I can help with.

    1. …for a (Poorly-timed) family reunion. She may end up staying longer to take care of some family members, and maybe even volunteer for some of the relief efforts.

      We’ve been discussing the possibility of her family (immediate or otherwise) coming back here to Colorado, and we’ll be offering up any space in my home that we can.  

      1. I hope everyone is alive and relatively OK, all things considered.

        Got word today that all of my company’s employees in Japan survived the disaster–no word on their homes, but thank goodness there were no fatalities.

  3. …nice diary.

    As I mentioned earlier, I have no problem with the majority of the Japanese people, and my annoyance with two small-ish groups of people in that country (Nationalists and Racists who commonly use vile slang to describe African-American Servicemembers.)

    I’m sorry for the trashing of your country by the forces of nature and the greed/stupidity/ignorance of a large power mega-company. I’m hoping that your stoic nature and devotion to your society help you get thru this disaster…and based on what I’ve seen on NHK and other media outlets, it seems to be happening.

    But when it’s all over, I’d like that small-ish segment of the population to stop and think about all those people you previously spat vile comments at, that are now risking their health and lives to help you and your country.

    If this can be a “Berlin Airlift” moment, then that’s a great outcome from a monumental disaster. If you go back to the way things were before this accident, SHAME on you.

  4. that the Japanese government and many, many of their people will express their gratitude. In any group there are folks who can never be made satisfied. Those folks often are the most belligerent and those must be expected. I am also sure that there will still be many who will want US forces out, especially from Okinawa.

    MADCO and Dan, I am pleased to see your very thoughtful posts in this thread today.

  5. Here is a link to an organization that sends shelter boxes.  This organization sends shelter boxes that include tools, cooking utensils and a small wood oven, a tent, coloring books for kids. All the stuff you’d need for a shelter.

    Expressing concern and forgiveness for past wrongs is good but God in Action requires a more direct approach.

      1. but if you can find it in your heart to help those suffering and in need you have my sincere gratitude.

        What I thought was smart about the shelter boxes is the simple things like cooking utensils and coloring books.  People with nothing can start again if they have a spoon and pot.  It makes sense to me.

    1. And when my houseguest (s) get here, I’ll ask them what would be most helpful.

      They’re in Singapore -sh/be in L. A. by Fri am and here by dinner.

  6. with the oil spill and while they don’t compare in terms of deaths and population dislocation, the leadership provide by Barack Obama really stands out to me.

    People slammed his address to the nation about it but he marshaled the assets of the federal government and worked with the private contractor to relentless pursue a solution and deal with the aftermath.  His address wasn’t about theoretical future scenarios but more that of a general defining the battle plan.  We are very lucky he it was his watch during that crisis.  The escrow fund from BP, new deep water drilling regulations and a commission to address the long term consequences showed a complete understanding of the situation.

    It is too soon to tell if the Japanese government has the same cool headed determination to deal with this crisis but a lot folks need to rethink their disdain for what Barack Obama did during that environmental crisis.  If not an apology then at least a recognition of his determination to deal with it.

  7. Free, for the moment from the New York Times:

    Amid Shortages, a Surplus of Hope

    The Japanese are often said to abide faithfully by the rules of the “group” and to be adept at forming cooperative systems in the face of great adversity. That would be hard to deny today. Valiant rescue and relief efforts continue nonstop, and no looting has been reported.

    Away from the eyes of the group, however, we also have a tendency to behave egoistically – almost as if in rebellion. And we are experiencing that too: Necessities like rice and water and bread have disappeared from supermarkets and convenience stores. Gas stations are out of fuel. There is panic buying and hoarding. Loyalty to the group is being tested.

    At present, though, our greatest concern is the crisis at the nuclear reactors in Fukushima. There is a mass of confused and conflicting information. Some say the situation is worse than Three Mile Island, but not as bad as Chernobyl; others say that winds carrying radioactive iodine are headed for Tokyo, and that everyone should remain indoors and eat lots of kelp, which contains plenty of safe iodine, which helps prevent the absorbtion of the radioactive element. An American friend advised me to flee to western Japan.

    Some people are leaving Tokyo, but most remain. “I have to work,” some say. “I have my friends here, and my pets.” Others reason, “Even if it becomes a Chernobyl-class catastrophe, Fukushima is 170 miles from Tokyo.”

    My parents are in western Japan, in Kyushu, but I don’t plan to flee there. I want to remain here, side by side with my family and friends and all the victims of the disaster. I want to somehow lend them courage, just as they are lending courage to me.

    And, for now, I want to continue the stance I took in my hotel room: I will trust the words of better-informed people and organizations, especially scientists, doctors and engineers whom I read online. Their opinions and judgments do not receive wide news coverage. But the information is objective and accurate, and I trust it more than anything else I hear.

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