I reported this already in late June, but now it’s a formal request from Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the appropriation for the 3rd supplementary budget for the fiscal 2011.
Back in June, the talk was only for processed seafood like canned fish. Now, as part of the ODA (Official Development Assistance) the Ministry of Foreign Affairs wants to use 5 billion yen (US$65 million) to buy up canned fish, wheelchairs and other industrial products from the disaster-affected areas and offered them to developing nations, says NHK News Japanese (9/19/2011).
By “disaster-affected” areas, read Fukushima, Miyagi, and Iwate Prefectures.
The purposes for this plan is two-fold, according to NHK. First, to aid the developing nations of course. Second and more importantly, to erase for once and for all the “baseless rumors” about radiation contamination of the Japanese produce and products in the minds of people in the developing nations.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is asking for 17 billion yen (US$221 million) total in the 3rd supplementary budget. If you look at the planned projects at the ministry, they read like a sublime lesson in irony and cynicism:
- 5 billion yen for this ODA fish and wheelchair for development countries scheme
- 4 billion yen for giving the earthquake and tsunami analysis and early warning systems to nations in Southeast Asia and in the Pacific Rim
- 1 billion yen for inviting IAEA experts for their advice on how to wind down the Fukushima I Nuclear Plant accident
- (from the 2nd supplementary budget) 1.5 billion yen for inviting people with big Facebook and Twitter followers in the US, Europe, and Middle East to Fukushima, Miyagi, and Iwate and wine and dine them with local produce, with the hope that they will spread the word to their followers “Japan is safe”; launching a media blitz overseas using celebrities to appeal safety of Japanese products (Mainichi Shinbun, 9/19/2011)
For the last one, the ministry is hiring 2 people with college or graduate degrees with English proficiency to tweet for the ministry, and take care of the Facebook/Twitter writers when they come to Tohoku. The ministry’s elite bureaucrats seem to think the revolutions in the Middle East happened because of Facebook and Twitter. What they’ve decided to ignore is that they were used by the anti-regime protesters, not by the regimes.
Despairing of their own government, some Japanese are hoping that the US will occupy Japan again. But then, under the current US president, all they would get would be killer drones.