The Fukushima Fifty

Japan gave us all something last week – the example of the Fukushima Fifty.

In a world of selfish bankers, bonus-chasing executives and expense-fiddling politicians, a supreme example of selflessness makes us feel better about being human.

And we all need to think better of the human race after the shame of the greedy, the selfish and the corrupt.


Heroism lifts us all. The Spartans at Thermopylae, The Few, the Alamo, enhance mankind.


So thanks Japan, you’ve shown the world the heights to which people can rise.



  1. Well said Stooriefit, here here

  2. Spot on Stooriefit, spot on.

  3. “So democratic capitalism is the new bad guy all of a sudden? Well, feel free to try living in a dictatorship or under communism. Enjoy.” is straight out of the Fox News hymnal and as such is to be treated as bait right?
    The UK economy is paralysed by the fear that the Gambling, sorry, Commercial Banking sector will en-mass decamp to a place where more favourable regulation can be bought – a corporate haven like Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Hong Kong or Singapore. This is what our democratic capitalism buys us. Being a one party state is really hurting Singapore right now eh?
    And communism doesn’t seem to be working for China right now – only managed to average 9% GDP growth per year for the last 20 years, compared with Uncle Sam at a shade under 4%.
    The wonderful thing about democracy is that it is such a bulwark against corruption, as demonstrated by Afghanistan, Iraq, Russia, Kenya, the Philippines and Indonesia. Their appearance at the arse end of Transparency International’s corruption league table for 2010 must be a mistake.
    Communism, Fascism and Democracy can all generate victims. If you’ve never heard of the tyranny of the majority you want to read more John Stuart Mill or Alexis de Tocqueville – although they were both Liberals and therefore near as damn it communists.
    International capitalism caused the less scrupulous national administrations to race to the bottom in terms of their financial regulations and the standards of behaviour of people in power. There were plenty of democracies in that stampede too.
    The banking crisis precipitated a moment which, if seized by the international community at the time, could have fixed this by instituting strong international financial regulations. The bankers slipped the hook however, and you and I will be doing this all again in 25 years, if we live that long.
    I agree that 99.9% of folks in business are honest. But I don’t agree that democratic capitalism is acceptable as it stands if it can allow that 0.1% to create the conditions whereby they can trash the world economy and still carry on regardless. In China they would be hung, and even though I deplore judicial murder (but you knew I was a pinko already right?) it makes more sense to me to use the ultimate sanction on those who have ruined the lives of millions than those that have, however cruelly, taken just one.

  4. Yes – undoubtly brave for their knowingly sacrificial acts.
    It’s not fitting to compare these brave souls with a few greedy selfish individuals. I say individuals as I run a small sideline reselling business and 99.9% of those folks are absolutley honest in their dealings with me. I’d go so far say the world population is generally honest. It is really only a few greedy folks. So calm down – we’re not all going to hell in a handcart.
    So democratic capitalism is the new bad guy all of a sudden? Well, feel free to try living in a dictatorship or under communism. Enjoy.

  5. Thanks a lot for that, Terry, you’re absolutely right, the conduct of the ordinary Japanese has been an extraordinary example of stoic selflessness. It has come just as the world seemed to be sinking in a swamp of selfishness from bankers, business executives and dodgy politicians. Maybe Japan’s example will be the beginning of the end for the ‘greed is good’ philosophy. Greed is bloody awful – ruining companies and livelihoods, economies and social structures.

  6. Bang on the nail with this one David. I had the privelige to live and work in Tokyo for a year and no other place has touched my heart the way that Japan and the Japanese people did. The fact that after this terrible disaster there is no looting and that people stand quietly in line for goods and food is no surprise to anyone who’s lived there. Likewise the stoic determination of these brave men to do their job no matter what.
    My Japanese boss once said to that Japan is not really a capitalist country and I think what he meant was this very high sense of social and moral responsibility that we see now. You see people’s true nature during the bad times.

  7. Thanks, Malcolm, yes, I hope you’re right. It would be a good thing if selfishness, greed and corruption became as socially obnoxious as racism and sexism

  8. Yes David … very refreshing indeed; as was Infineon’s donation to the recovery aid. I’m sure there will be good rising out of the ashes of Fukishima … hopefully one might be a return to good old-fashioned values.
    Time to take a leaf out of French history and for all of us to grab our pitch forks and turf these selfish industrialists, politicians, financial people and their like out into the wilderness.
    Their’s is not capilalism but plain outright robbery.

  9. It is quite possible that the entire world owes an unpayable debt to these brave men.

  10. Whilst it is fitting to count the Fukushima Fifty with the “few”; the Spartans at Thermopylae (plus the 400 Thesipians and the Spartan’s “slave” army that get forgotton) were defending one military dictatorship against another, whilst the Texan defenders of the Alamo were defending their “right” to own slaves against the Mexican Government who wanted to abolish the practice.

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