On the Front Lines of the Culture Wars

On the Front Lines of the Culture Wars

Japanese retirees offer to clean up radioactive power plant

Some of the 200 retired volunteers

In an incredible offer to sacrifice their lives, about 200 elderly Japanese professionals have asked their government to let them take the place of the younger workers at the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant.

Retired engineer Yasuteru Yamada, 72, says the idea is that they figure they have less than 20 years to live anyway and will be dead before any radiation-related cancer develops.


“It’s a different story for the young people who have battled in this war zone for three months and are at great risk for developing cancer as they grow older,” writes Kelly Hodgkins on the website “All that is stopping these pensioners from donning their radiation suits is the Japanese government which unfortunately is dragging its bureaucratic feet.” 

Yamada told the British Broadcasting Corporation that it was time for his generation to stand up. No longer could he be just an observer of the struggle to stabilize the nuclear plant.

One of the crippled Fukushima reactors


“The retired engineer is reporting back for duty at the age of 72,” reported the BBC, “and he is organizing a team of pensioners to go with him. “Volunteering to take the place of younger workers at the power station is not brave, Yamada says, but logical.”

He has been getting back in touch with old friends via e-mail and Twitter with the message that “even if I were exposed to radiation, cancer could take 20 or 30 years or longer to develop. Therefore us older ones have less chance”

The plant is still spewing radiation, nearly three months after an earthquake and tsunami knocked out its cooling systems, triggering explosions. Its operator, Tepco, has now confirmed three of the reactors probably suffered meltdowns.


“Michio Ito used to be a primary school teacher,” reports the BBC, “but is spending his retirement helping out in a cafe that offers work experience to people with learning difficulties. He is keen to swap his apron for a radiation suit.”

Some of the younger workers, still at work inside the plant

“We are not kamikaze,” says Yamada — referring to the suicide airmen of World War II who dived explosive-laden aircraft into Allied forces’ battleships and aircraft carriers.  “I don’t think I’m particularly special. I hope it will be a great experience. Most Japanese want to help out any way they can.”

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Birdie

    Amazing!!! Yamada says his actions are logical, I agree. But I also agree they are selfless.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Ariel

    Whatever their motives for doing this, I see in these elders God’s love in action. They are awesome!

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Abambagibus

    This latest of Japanese catastrophes has exposed the Japanese for what they truly are. There have been the myriad ‘haves’, little or not at all affected by the quake, who have brought food to quake-diminished grocery stores in order that those, who have little or nothing because of the quake, may have access to sustenance. There have been the myriad discoverers of thousands and thousands of personal safes, washed away from their tsunami-deleted homes, which they have brought to their local police stations in the hope that the rightful owners of the valuables contained therein may retrieve them. There have been the myriad expressions of social honor, respect, and compassion, …quite a contrast with the narcissism-ravaged society that calls itself America. Scilicet Ab Ambagibus.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment RobLA

    I’m 63, and I see a direct parallel with our troops in the middle east. I look at the death scrolls of our soldiers in Afghanistan. There is one common denominator. The vast majority of young soldiers are cannon fodder for roadside bombs. Relatively few are shot in battle. Us old guys can stand by and get blown up. What a waste, if that’s all our soldiers are good for. I’d like to volunteer to take the place of these young men, along with Bush 1 and 2 and all the other perpetrators of this catastrophe. We are kind of like the Red Coats, I don’t say British, because that’s what the colonists were, marching in line, waiting for a patriot to shoot them from behind a tree, then flee. Anybody can stand around and be shot.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Dr. James Shorten

    No greater gift than the gift of love and no greater act of love then to give your life for another… May God bless these brave men…

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Mary F

    This just shows the true character of people from that geeration that has been lost to the ME generations of the last 30 years !!!! The sacrifice and true heroism of my grandparents and mother & father’s generation of stepping up to the plate. Awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://just Pat

    I would like to Praise The Lord for these prople,I have been around them and they are just like you and I Praise His Holy Name,sometimes it takes the older generation to show how to live any way we have a lot of experience at life,and always trust in God,by our Jesus Christ.thank you Belief for sharing this story with us.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Janice Queen


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