image: Wikimedia commons (link).
On this day, March 11, it is appropriate to take time to remember those whose lives were lost in the tragic earthquake and tsunami five years ago.
As I wrote here four years ago, one year after the disaster, it is also appropriate to deliberately take time to meditate upon compassionate thoughts and the desire for the reduction of suffering, and to take whatever actions we can to reduce the suffering of others (especially those affected by the disastrous earthquake and tsunami in Japan) wherever we see a way to do so. [link]
As is now well known, the impact of the tsunami on that day caused the meltdown of three of the six nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
As is perhaps not as widely known, the knowledge of these meltdowns was deliberately withheld from the public for months after the fact.
As this CNN article reports, a senior official and representative of the Nuclear and Industry Safety Agency was fired after mentioning the possibility of a core meltdown in a press conference the day after the disaster. The same article notes there was a "perceived conflict of interest" because the Safety Agency was subordinate to a parent agency "responsible for promoting nuclear power."
The decision to hide the fact of the meltdown of the cores of three of the nuclear reactors from the public by the agencies and individuals -- for months -- is obviously reprehensible, repugnant, and criminal.
That information of such magnitude was deliberately covered up should cause people to ask what else about the magnitude of the nuclear aspects of this catastrophe might also have been downplayed since that terrible day -- or might continue to be kept from the people who deserve to have the information they need to make decisions about their own health and safety (and that of their families and loved ones).
I believe that when people have lost their lives, it is a dishonor to their memory to cover up the truth of what happened or to decide that it is too painful to seek after that truth. I cannot imagine that someone who lost his or her life in a disaster would say to those who survived, "Please don't try to find out the truth -- it might be too painful."
I hope that we can all take the time today to think compassionate thoughts for those affected most directly by the disaster, and that in the days and years to come we will also dedicate ourselves to finding the truth about historical events that took the lives of others, because we know that there are some who are determined to cover up the truth.