FUKUSHIMA Lives on the Line

170Reflecting on the Great East Japan EarthquakeSafety is a scientific matter and peace of mind is a psychological and economic matter. However, for an unprecedented disaster such as the recent one, Yoichiro Murakami’s words of advice bear merit.In ultimate tests such as this, it is vital for leaders to send a message to those who are laboring so earnestly. The message is “We recognize your effort. We are grateful for your work.”The most disconcerting thing to be endured by those implicated in a disaster, as I earlier alluded regarding certain maxims, is to have people enter into the fray once the dust has settled and offer criticism buttressed by hindsight. One expects there to be room for improvement and room for uncovering a better course of action by placidly looking back on decisions made under duress. This is all the more reason why leaders must show consistency and authority in times of emergencies, even if instantaneous decisions can only be deliberated upon. When third parties who were not present and did not have complete data offer criticism, it is truly painful for those who take the necessary actions to bear.And finally, in extreme circumstances, the people of a nation need to follow wise leaders. However, fate ultimately turns on whether wise leaders exist in the administration or at the actual site of the disaster.(This is a paper for a lecture presented at the 60th conference of the Eastern Japan Association of Orthopedics and Traumatology, jointly held with the 51st conference of the Kanto Society of Orthopedics and Traumatology.)