On April 17 Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano made his first visit to the earthquake disaster area, attending a conference with the mayor of Minamisōma city and making an inspection of the missing persons investigation with the 20 kilometer evacuation zone.
Surely it is tempting to laud Mr. Edano, the man overseas media has branded the ‘Jack Bauer’ of the crisis for his hands-on attitude. However, the conspicuously heavy-duty gear worn during the inspection and the surprising swiftness with which he left the scene has made Mr. Edano something of a running gag on Internet forums in Japan.
The Asahi News Network reported that, opposed to the non-woven fabric face masks, simple protective suit and rubber boots worn by the workers on site, Mr. Edano and his team were fully equipped with goggles, 3M dust masks made to protect against radioactive material, and full-body hazmat suits.
Furthermore, it is reported that Mr. Edano finished the inspection within roughly 20 minutes—15 of which were spent driving around and observing from a car. After finishing the inspection, Mr. Edano and his team immediately returned to Tokyo.
Mr. Edano has come under fire from the Internet masses who claim that he “came too fast and left too soon.” Nicknames such as Full Armor Edano have become popular, and in true Japanese Internet fashion one user suggests that it “looks like he’s happy about obtaining Erdrick’s Armor.”
Incidentally, our reporters also visited areas within the evacuation zone, and though they were dressed roughly the same as the workers out there they made it back home without receiving harmful levels of radiation. Even many of the animals who have spent a much longer time within the 20 km evacuation zone still fall within safe levels, and it seems there is no reason that one would need any more protection than what the workers are using.
In part two of “An Edano Odyssey” our resident political analyst will explain why Mr. Edano chose such hefty gear for the inspection visit.
Also in An Edano Odyssey: