Just an Accident


Previously I posted about the injury and death of a worker at one of my schools, and the ensuing investigation. Over the weekend I heard from connected sources that they were considering this an accidental death; however, this morning I was informed that an officer would come during my lunch break to fingerprint me and another worker.

Ostensibly the fingerprinting is just for exclusionary purposes. So the question begged by this procedure is: were my sources mistaken and there is still an active investigation, or were they misled?

Japan often brags on its high conviction rate for murder investigations. As recently as a couple decades ago they were claiming 100 percent success, with new investigative techniques one would assume it has not declined. Of course, one source of convictions are when organized crime is involved, they will sacrifice a young member to the police. Police are satisfied because they have a confession; senior members of the crime organization are satisfied because they were protected; and the junior member is satisfied because – after serving his time – he is taken care of and earns position. A concern for our current case is that, in Japan, the need to put the populace at ease is considered very important. Are the police just saying it was an accident to ease the nerves of this community?

We are finding out bit by bit about critical information that wasn’t passed on during the recent nuclear crisis; and information about residual materials is still kept pretty quiet. Today’s news showed that amidst concerns that 30 million people may have needed evacuation from the disaster area, the power companies plan was to abandon the site as it was. Clearly, letting us believe an assailant is not on the loose is something many would do quickly to keep us appeased. Hopefully, it was just an accidental death and today was merely necessary as the conclusion of procedure – also an important activity in Japan.


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3 Responses to “Just an Accident”

  1. Stefanie Says:

    Do you find the need to appease a kind of scary cultural tendency? To make everyone think things are fine when they really aren’t is scarier to me than knowing the truth, especially with all that has made the news over here about the nuclear disaster and the aftermath. Do people in Japan prefer an appeasement approach or is it a tactic of the authorities that most people disagree with?

  2. びっくり Says:

    As with anything here: it is complicated. Generally Japanese people don’t want to be the cause of trouble. This is one of the reasons you will almost never get a yes or no answer to a question in Japan. So, being the bearer of distressing news will trouble people; therefore, most officials will avoid it if possible.

    Also, Japanese people are very good at worrying. Even in a situation where things are moving along fine and there is a plan which everyone accepted, you will find people suddenly freezing up mid-stream to discuss all the horrible things which could happen. If there is a true disaster, I think many people are torn between wanting to worry about it and needing some relief from the stress, so they will accept a lot of ‘helpful lies’ from the government.

    On the other hand, there was a sizable demonstration against nuclear power on the holiday. I think there is a lot of international assistance in getting people off the fence for the protests. We’ll see how this shakes out since one of Noda’s first announcements since taking office was about plans to restart some of the reactors shut down after Fukushima.

    Personally, I prefer substantial accurate information, so I can make appropriate plans for myself and those around me. When the initial investigation at the school was starting, they wanted me to walk around the building, but lacking information I distanced myself from the school until I could ascertain what the situation was.

  3. Stefanie Says:

    Thanks for the explanation. It is such a different mindset from America and most of the west it is hard to understand.

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