KEN BELSON “Japanese Find Radioactivity on Their Own” http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/01/world/asia/01radiation.html
Such activism would barely merit comment in the United States, but it is exceptional in a country where people generally trust their leaders to watch out for them. That faith has been eroded by a sense that government officials have been, at best, overwhelmed by the enormousness of the disaster, and at worst, hiding how bad things are.
“They don’t riot and they don’t even demonstrate very much, but they are not just sitting on their hands, either,” said Gerald Curtis, Burgess Professor of Political Science at Columbia University and a longtime Japan expert. “What the dosimeter issue reveals is that people are getting more nervous rather than less about radiation dangers.”
The corrosion of trust, at first aimed at faceless bureaucrats and lawmakers in distant Tokyo, now includes governors, mayors and city councils as well, a potentially unsettling trend because it pits neighbors against neighbors. That trust may also be hard to restore: under pressure from concerned citizens, bureaucrats in Tokyo have expanded their monitoring, but many people doubt that the government’s standards are safe or that officials are doing a thorough enough job of testing.
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