The crisis in Japan began on March 11th with two terrible disasters, but it has continued with the unfolding challenges at the Fukushima nuclear reactor. In the face of these problems, people have made various decisions for their families. Some people were forced to make decisions that they otherwise would not have made – like evacuating from the recommended radius around the reactor itself. Some people made choices to leave Tokyo and some people chose to stay. After the main quake, there were hundreds of frightening aftershocks; there were runs on food and milk; then came the reactor fears. There was a lot of hype surrounding everything happening in Tokyo. However, there was not one right answer for all people.
All people, however, have to believe that they are making the right decision. This goes for decisions as small as what sweater to wear, and as large as leaving Japan after an earthquake and tsunami. People must make the decision and then stick by it and believe in it.
Where I draw the line, however, is at deriding others for their decisions because they were different from your own.
I will not use this space to defend my decision to leave Japan after the quake; I don’t feel that I have to. I will tell you that I’m not going back right now because my son has a trip with his class (from Japan) to New York in two weeks that has been planned for months and months, so it doesn’t make sense to go back now and then make him fly again so soon when we can easily stay put and meet his class in New York.
It disappoints me that so many people judged my family for our decision. Even the Wall Street Journal did it, with its validation of the term “fly-jin.” A guy who reads this blog (and believe me, I appreciate all of my readers and their comments) wrote a rant calling me a coward for having left. These are just two examples of many, public proclamations that we are wrong and they are right to have stayed in Tokyo. I respect people’s right to have stayed put. That’s the decision that was right for them and their families.
And that’s what it comes down to: respect. I freely made my decision and I respect that you freely made yours.
There is so much rebuilding that needs to happen in Japan right now. Now is the time to come together to help those in Northern Japan who need it most. It is certainly not the time for anyone to sit in judgment of any other person.