Letter to the Editor from Consul General of Japan

Takeshi Hikihara, the Consul General of Japan in Boston, responds to commentary from Jacques Attali about the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

Dear Editor:

I write with regard to the opinion piece “The international community must intervene – in Japan” by Jacques Attali which appeared on March 30, 2011. I found many false and misleading statements contained in the said opinion.

First, Mr. Attali claims that Japan has refused to accept cooperation extended by foreign experts. To the contrary, we welcome and appreciate the cooperation offered by numerous countries around the world to send experts on nuclear power plants and we have begun to work closely with them. For example, a number of specialists from the United States as well as France have been working closely with Japanese experts to cope with the situation regarding the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Specialists from the International Atomic Energy Agency have also been engaged in radiation monitoring and other activities.

Second, fully recognizing the international implications of this crisis, we are working hand in hand with these experts, and expect more to join the struggle to overcome a very difficult situation. The government of Japan has closely consulted with the World Health Organization, Food and Agriculture Organization, and other relevant organizations, which have published updated information on food and water safety that supports safety standards announced by the government of Japan.

Third, Attali’s criticism that Japan lacks transparency is unfounded. Japan has expeditiously provided information to the public, both domestically and internationally. The Chief Cabinet Secretary has held intensive press conferences several times a day since the earthquake occurred, open to the foreign media with simultaneous English interpretation. The Prime Minister’s office also holds a foreign media briefing on a daily basis, the transcript and video of which are available on the internet. Furthermore, in our efforts to provide accurate and timely information to the international community as well as foreign residents in Japan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) has briefed diplomatic missions on a daily basis since March 13, and has provided relevant information on MOFA’s website.

In the midst of this crisis, the government of Japan is doing its utmost to solve this complicated situation. Bolstered by the cooperation of the international community, we are determined to overcome the difficulties.

Yours sincerely,

Takeshi Hikihara

Consul General of Japan in Boston

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